In this business, you are never really safe from new acronyms. It seems like you can’t look away before another one takes hold. This time, we’re talking about “AVOD.” You might be forgiven for thinking this refers to the former New York Yankee, but it doesn’t. No, AVOD is one of the big new things in the world of television, although I’ve been predicting it for years.
Advertiser-supported Video on Demand
That’s right, AVOD means advertiser-supported video on demand. It’s the antidote to high streaming bills, just like streaming was supposed to be the antidote to high cable bills. It’s having its moment now, as many of us take a look at the streaming services we’ve paid for all last year.
The idea is simple: a service that’s either free or very close to free because you have to watch non-skippable ads. It’s the closest thing to 1950s-style television that most people today will ever experience. AVOD is a very strong part of the streaming world now, and I for one think that’s a good thing.
How AVOD works
AVOD gives you commercials in the stuff you watch, plain and simple. If the content you’re watching has natural places to put commercial breaks, you’ll see them. If it’s a movie or something else not designed for commercials… well you’ll see them in some jarring places. It’s like watching TV on a Sunday afternoon in the 1970s.
From the advertiser’s point of view, this is great. Most AVOD services do a great job of targeting ads. That means you could see commercials for a local store that would never advertise on a big-city TV station. The better AVOD services also target you demographically by using your browser history and viewing history.
(sidebar: Yes they can target you using your browsing history, even though it’s a different device. In some cases they can target you even if you’re in “incognito mode.” So just beware.)
Choose AVOD, traditional SVOD, or a hybrid
The world of streaming can be pretty confusing. Take for example HBO Max. This is the streaming service attached to HBO, of course, and it’s where you’ll get an incredible array of programs. Right now it’s considered SVOD. SVOD is subscription video-on-demand, meaning that you pay for it. You either subscribe to HBO, and it’s included in the package, or you pay for it monthly. But, HBO says they’ll add an AVOD tier in the future. You can pay less, but you’ll see commercials. This model was pioneered by Hulu, and while I famously said I’d never pay for it, I had to eat my words.
Of course there are also services which are completely ad-supported. Services like Pluto, Tubi, and PopcornFlix have thrived by offering a lot of free content that’s peppered with commercials. They’re perfect for viewing on a budget.
Will AVOD take over the streaming world?
I would say, no it will not. I think there’s a place for all sorts of streaming. The streaming world is pretty big and there’s a place for expensive services and free ones. If you’re like me you probably use both. Choice is a good thing, of course, and there’s plenty of it out there. Oh, by the way, when you’re looking for the accessories to make your streaming rig work the best it can, try shopping at Solid Signal.