AT&T TV NOW Customers a Step Closer to Seeing Paused Ads

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AT&T’s modern take on delivering ads when a viewer hits the pause button is getting closer. It has long been understood that AT&T was working on a feature that showed ads once a user had paused video and and now these ads are reportedly already been sold to advertisers.


In due course, these ads are expected to roll out to all of AT&T’s video services, including AT&T TV NOW. Some AT&T video customers might have already seen these ads in action.

Paused ads are exactly what they sound like. Ads that are show to the public when the viewer pauses the content. The idea here is to provide a way to deliver ads that doesn’t, or minimally impacts on the viewing experience. That is, an ad that does not interrupt the video, but one that is shown when the viewer chooses to interrupt the video.


In a recent interview with Xandr CEO, Brian Lesser, it become clear these ads are already being sold to advertisers. In some cases, the ads have already been shown on select AT&T video services, including DIRECTV. Xandr is an advertising company owned by AT&T.

AT&T not the only one invested in paused ads

AT&T is not the only video provider that’s currently working with paused ads. Hulu is too. Unlike AT&T’s approach which actually plays a video while the content is paused, Hulu has so far opted to show a static image. In this sense, Hulu’s paused ads are more similar to a billboard advertisement that overlays the pause screen with a reference to a company, product or both.

Companies like AT&T and Hulu are turning to these newer and more novel ad delivery methods as a means to stem the lack of ad space in modern video. With more consumers now opting to watch content on-demand or via DVR, video providers are finding they have less ad space to sell. This has not only resulted in the price of ads going up, but also the need to come up with new ways to deliver ads. Paused ads appears to be one of the more popular approaches so far, although it is certainly not the only one.


During the interview, Lesser explained AT&T’s video ads will commence once the content has been paused for 30 seconds. While these ads are labeled as non-intrusive they’re still more intrusive than Hulu’s version. For example, the video not only automatically plays, but does so with full volume.

Lesser also explained more details on AT&T’s paused ads will be released during CES 2020. The consumer technology event is due to take place in Las Vegas between January 7 and January 10, 2020.

Source: Variety

John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been editing and writing about technology and streaming for online publications since 2014, and believes the best streaming approach is to rotate between services as needed.

John's preferred live TV streaming service right now is YouTube TV although he does tend to switch live TV services multiple times each year to keep up to date with their changes. Outside of live TV, John also actively streams HBO Max (for the shows), Peacock (for Premier League), and Paramount Plus (for Champion's League). However, John is also currently subscribed to Apple TV+, Discovery+, Hulu, Starz, Showtime, and Shudder.

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