YouTube is bringing unskippable 30-second ads to TV

Watching YouTube on your TV is about to get more frustrating if you’re not paying to avoid ads. As announced at the YouTube Brandcast event on Wednesday, YouTube will soon add 30-second unskippable ads to top-performing content watched on connected TVs. 

YouTube says viewers will see a single 30-second ad instead of two consecutive 15-second ads, though that doesn’t mean that those shorter ads will be disappearing entirely. 30-second ads will be available to advertisers via YouTube Select, a curated advertising platform that targets the top five percent of YouTube content. YouTube claims 70 percent of YouTube Select impressions come from TVs, making it the ideal platform for longer ads.

YouTube is also testing ads that will appear on paused videos

“More and more, viewers are tuning into YouTube on the biggest screen in their home,” said YouTube CEO Neal Mohan during the Brandcast event (seen via Variety). “Viewers — especially younger viewers — no longer make a distinction between the kind of content they’re watching.”

YouTube also announced that it will start testing ads that appear when the viewer pauses a video on a connected TV. It’s similar to the pause ad feature rolled out by Hulu a few years back, and has been dubbed “pause experiences” by YouTube. Judging by the example image published by AdWeek, YouTube’s pause ads will appear as a banner around the video and can be removed by selecting the “dismiss” button. 

YouTube hasn’t mentioned when either of these changes — 30-second unskippable ads and pause ads — will be rolling out, but we’ve reached out for detail and will update if we hear back.

Yesterday’s announcements follow a recent crackdown on ad blockers by the video hosting platform. Last week, YouTube revealed that it’s experimenting with pop-up messages that state “Ad blockers are not allowed on YouTube,” encouraging viewers to instead subscribe to YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience.