What People Actually Think Of Commercials

Last month, certain parts of the Internet were subject to an uproar when it looked like Netflix would be adding ads to their shows – not product commercials, but promos for the company’s own series – and then it turned out that wasn’t even happening. But would we, as an entertainment-consuming population, really have been that mad about getting commercials added to our streaming series? Not as much as you might think.

According to a new infographic created by the mood-centered website Happify, as delivered by TheWrap, having commercials included in some of our favorite shows might actually help to keep us happier with them. Somewhat shockingly, this didn’t come from an advertisement for a company that specializes in self-promotion. Here’s how the company explained what the research shows.

Several studies found that, counter to what we might assume, watching TV with ads is more enjoyable than watching commercial-free.

Now, that doesn’t exactly mean that people love having Castle or The Good Wife interrupted by spots promoting McDonald’s and local law firms. It doesn’t appear to be the actual commercials themselves that eases people’s moods, but rather what they represent: some free time for your mind. Here’s that reasoning.

We naturally enjoy TV less as time goes by, and the interruptions disrupt that process, keeping the enjoyment level high.

I can totally understand that it’s the viewing time being broken up that serves as a bigger catalyst than whatever is actually happening during that break. Like, I’d be just as happy to get a blank screen that said “Go Pee and Get a Drink Now” as I would to see whatever new vehicle Denis Leary is describing. But I guess that wouldn’t get any cars sold.

The infographic also mentions the recent study that found binge-watching shows can lead to loneliness and depression. That certainly ties into the “commercial breaks = happiness” argument, as more people use Netflix and Amazon Prime than ad-based streaming services like Hulu. Perhaps this is a sign that we’re all actually doomed to seek out sadness rather than happiness, even from the things we think are more pleasant. Or maybe that’s just reading into it too much.

Other recent surveys have shown us that more people are willing to shift from normal cable plans over to Netflix exclusively – though allowing for an ample amount of crossover – which means that a large enough group of people will get their entertainment predominantly commercial-free. Maybe those people will begin to re-recognize the beauty of a pause just after the first act surprise reveal, and just before the episode comes to a conclusion. I can’t imagine what sports would be like without commercials, though I like anything that gives me a reason to keep a bucket of iced beer next to me on the couch.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.