Tech

Roku launches interactive pop-ups during live TV broadcasts.

Editor’s opinion: I hate to say it, but advertising is a necessary evil. If you want reasonably priced (or free) media content, you have no choice but to endure ad interruptions. This is pretty much the only way a content provider can stay in business and keep subscription costs low. However, advertising placement should never intrusively interfere with media representation.

It appears that TV streaming provider Roku may be testing pop-up ads with live streaming clients. On weekends, the user r/cordcutters the subreddit reported that Roku served him an overlay advertisement during a live broadcast of an NFL game. He wasn’t happy.

“Well, this is the last time I buy or recommend Roku,” a user said.

The content was a pop-up suggestion for a Sleep Number bed. He appeared on screen shortly after the commercial break when the Sleep Number ad appeared. ExtremeTech notes that Roku does not have commented about the situation, making users think about what is happening with additional advertising.

It’s possible that Roku either has agreements with live TV providers or advertisers to run interactive ads after their live TV shows. Offering a way to immediately purchase a previously advertised product while it’s still fresh in mind is a logical way to increase your conversion rate. However, this tactic causes great dissatisfaction among customers who pay for a service already supported by advertising.

One redditor advised that users can disable pop-ups in the Roku settings.

“These [ads] from companies that have an agreement with Roku allowing them to be used on Roku TVs. As far as I know, they don’t exist on standalone devices,” Redditor said, adding, “If I remember how I disabled this correctly, go to Settings > Privacy > Smart TV Experience.” Disable “Use information from TV inputs”.

We have not been able to verify this claim.

Of course, it is supposed to watch ads during the live broadcast. Networks have been running ads on all sorts of shows, from soap operas to sports, literally from the beginning. Likewise, advertising for streaming services is not a surprise, especially to those who don’t make money from subscriptions. And even TV streaming provider subscribers can tolerate some ads to a certain extent.

The real problem here is implementation. The presence of ads in the menu or content guide is quite unobtrusive. Not many will complain about this type of ad placement. However, when ads start to interfere with browsing, users tend to get angry. Roku could have quickly rectified this situation by placing the popup during the commercial break rather than during the TV show.


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