The Eyes Have It: Hollywood Strikes and Ad Tech Innovations

Content may be revving back up, but ad tech never slowed down

The Eyes Have It: Hollywood Strikes and Ad Tech Innovations

4 Min Read

TV and movie fans rejoice as the Hollywood strikes’ resolutions means new content is back in the pipeline. And while they may be waiting for a bit longer to see those debuts, ad tech has evolved even more in the interim, ensuring that when that content does hit streaming platforms, the unclickable TV screen will be better optimized than ever before. 

TV and movies can resume production with the end of the strikes

The strikes are officially over. News of the end of the actors’ strike broke last week, with SAG-AFTRA coming to a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The writers’ strike ended in September, but without a cast to write for, Hollywood remained at a standstill.

These strikes mark some of the longest in Hollywood’s history. While a lot was on the table, from AI to royalties, the strikes demonstrate how much the entertainment world has shifted with the rise of streaming and the need for updated policies for those that create all the content viewers are so eager to consume.

Don’t start the search for new content just yet

For everyone ready to run to their couches for the new premieres, they may still be waiting a while. Despite many entertainment companies holding back finished content to help bridge the gap, more will be needed to get the regular flow of content back up to speed. 

Case in point: Deadpool 3 (starring none other than MNTN’s CCO, Ryan Reynolds) will be the only movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that Disney plans to release next year, compared to the standard 3-4 per year they usually release. Studios have jumped into filming some big name movies and TV seasons, as well: Avatar 3, Snow White, and new seasons of Abbott Elementary, Billions, and Stranger Things (the list continues) have all been delayed due to the strikes and will pick up filming soon.

Despite a lack of new content, ad tech continued to make advancements

While Hollywood’s writers’ rooms may have been a ghost town, ad tech never missed a beat. Throughout the year, the industry has debuted new ad formats to help advertisers sell products through the once-unclickable TV screen. Publishers and big retailers have been collaborating on making it easy for viewers to check out straight from the screen. Earlier this month, Walmart and Peacock announced their new collaboration on Bravo’s Below Deck Mediterranean. With Peacock’s “MustShopTV” product, Walmart is using AI to identify products featured on the show and then display a QR code for viewers to shop those products on Walmart’s website. This format takes TV advertising one step closer to its desktop and mobile counterparts’ ability to click through.

Walmart isn’t the only retailer looking to bring the click to the TV screen. Amazon — which is in a unique position as both the retailer and the content provider — has its sights set on a key shopping day: Black Friday. This year, Amazon will be showing the first ever NFL Black Friday game, and they aren’t letting the opportunity go to waste. Advertisers will be featuring exclusive BF deals for viewers that will be shoppable from the TV screen, either through interactive ad units or through QR codes (like Walmart’s). Amazon has opened coverage of the game up to everyone (not just Prime members) so no one will miss the chance to shop watch.

And these ad formats are already proving effective; studies have shown that they actually do influence people to shop. We know that people aren’t just using their second screens while streaming; a recent survey showed that a quarter of viewers are actively shopping as they watch, while 28% are searching for products after seeing them on TV. Amazon has seen that their interactive video ads that allow users to click garner almost 20 times more interactions than ads with QR codes. It seems that users are more than ready to adopt the ad behaviors that they’re so used to across other screens.

New content or not, people will continue to watch TV 

These new ad formats certainly won’t be going to waste, either. Even with the delay in new releases, people are still settling in to watch TV. They’re tuning into their favorite rewatches or catching up on a series or movie they missed the first time around. Headlines during the strike read “20 Overlooked TV Shows to Stream During the Strike-Affected Fall Season” and “Here’s What To Watch During the Ongoing Writers Strike.” 58% of network TV viewers said they’d be willing to rewatch previously aired episodes of their favorite shows during the lull in new programming. Streaming’s wealth of content and extensive back catalogs have plenty to tide over streamers until the studios have put the finishing touches on the new stuff.

Actors and writers may be jumping back into their jobs to start TV production as quickly as possible, but viewers should still be checking their favorite streaming services for some nostalgia-viewing while they wait for the finished product. Advertisers, to be sure, will still meet them on the couch.