While the best streaming services now offer a wide range of top content, there's still something to be said for YouTube. The video upload site is filled with content from both professionals and amateurs alike, offering a comprehensive suite of entertainment possibilities.
It's not all plain sailing though. Ads on the site have been the source of complaints for years now, as the brand made several rounds of changes to increase ad revenue.
It could all be about to change again, too. According to a report by Engadget, the site is testing a new approach to ads for users watching on Smart TVs, as well as devices like Apple TV and games consoles like the PS5 and the Xbox Series X.
According to their research, average watch time on those devices is around 21 minutes – about the same time as a single TV episode. And that has prompted a trialled change, with a longer passage of ads bunched together, rather than several spots of shorter ad breaks dotted throughout.
That sounds like it would act much more like the traditional ad breaks found on terrestrial TV feeds. It should prove popular, too. According to the report, YouTube suggests that 79% of viewers would prefer ads to be grouped together – particularly when watching the kind of long form content that those devices are made for.
Personally, I'm a big fan of this move. Sure, the prospect of a long ad break feels a bit antiquated these days, but it's infinitely better than having content chopped up by shorter breaks. Nothing quite kills the immersion of a great video like an inevitable ad break.
It's not yet clear exactly how things will be grouped – or if the change will result in longer ad times overall. We'll have to wait and see on that front. But I can't see it being a deal breaker. The benefits would still outweigh the negatives.
Plus, the brand is also said to be working on a change to make ad length more transparent. The new experience would inform users of exactly how much longer they have to wait before ads could be skipped. That would work brilliantly with the redesigned ad experience.
There's no definite details about when, or if, this will come to the public version of the app. But I certainly hope it does. The change seems like a positive one from a user experience perspective, which is no bad thing.