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Pluto TV Ads vs Tubi Ads: There’s A Clear Winner

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When it comes to ads on Pluto TV and Tubi, there’s a clear winner in our opinion. For reference, this comparison isn’t focused on the content available on either free streaming service. If more interested in the general experience then check out this comparison, as the rest of this guide is solely concerned with the ad duration, frequency, and ad experience in general.

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Pluto TV and Tubi are two of many free streaming services consumers can now sign up to and are free in the sense that they don’t require any subscription or monthly fee. While there are benefits to creating a free account with a free streaming service, neither Pluto TV nor Tubi requires the user to set up an account to watch any of the live channels or on-demand videos.

Even though both of these services are completely free to use, they do rely on ads to generate revenue, and in spite of their similarities, the ad experience is fairly different. To cut to the chase, Tubi is the better service overall. Not only are the ad breaks shorter than on Pluto TV, but they are also less frequent as well. For any times when a movie or show is available to watch on both Pluto TV and Tubi, we would recommend watching it on Tubi.

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Tubi ads are shorter and less frequent

After sitting through the ads on both streaming services, Tubi is the clear winner for us. Any episode or movie shown on Tubi is likely to be shorter overall when compared to the same length episode or movie on Pluto TV, due to the fewer ad breaks.

The table below shows the duration of ads (how long each break lasted) and the number of ads per break when watching live TV on Pluto TV and Tubi. For reference, both were watched at different times and for exactly 80 minutes.

TubiPluto
Ad durationNo. of adsAd durationNo. of ads
2 minutes43 minutes7
2 minutes53 minutes7
2 minutes43 minutes6
2 minutes23 minutes6
2 minutes33 minutes6
2 minutes23 minutes7
2 minutes33 minutes7
3 minutes7

During the 80 minutes watching live TV on Tubi, there was a total of 7 ad breaks which collectively resulted in 14 minutes and 23 ads. In comparison, 80 minutes watching live TV on Pluto TV resulting in 24 minutes of ads over 8 ad breaks. Overall, not only were there fewer ad breaks on Tubi, but they were also shorter in general as well.

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While these two viewing events took place at different times on different days, both took place at similar times and on a weekday. More to the point, the data was deemed to be fairly representative of the experience offered by each service.

For example, a similar pattern can be seen when watching on-demand content. The table below shows the number of ad breaks and their duration during a 44 minute (without ads) episode.

Pluto TVTubi
2 minutes10 seconds
2 minutes2 minutes
2 minutes50 seconds
2 minutes
2 minutes
2 minutes
2 minutes

As these ads were during a standard (and random) 44 minute episode of a show, they resulted in a total viewing time of 47 minutes on Tubi and 58 minutes on Pluto TV. Although just one example, it was again considered to be representative of the general on-demand experience after watching multiple videos of varying lengths on both services. In another example, a 101 minute movie on Tubi included 9 minutes of ads taking the total viewing time to 110 minutes. In contrast, a shorter movie (93 minutes) on Pluto TV also took 110 minutes to watch, resulting in 17 minutes of ads.

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In addition to the ad duration and frequency, the actual experience is also better on Tubi as well. For example, ad breaks come with a timer letting the viewer know how long the commercial break will last. While Pluto TV does provide insight into the total time (running time + ads) on a video page, it doesn’t provide any information on how long ad breaks are while watching. For reference, neither service provides any indicators on the video progress bar of when ad breaks will be shown.

In terms of the quality of ads, that’s another story entirely. All free streaming services tend to suffer from the same repetitive ads problem and Pluto TV and Tubi are no exception. Both services show the same ads over and over again, and neither proved particularly better in this aspect of the viewing experience.

For those interested in a more detailed look at our experience with the ads on Pluto TV, check out this guide. Likewise, this guide offers a more detailed look at the ad experience we encountered when watching Tubi. Our takeaway, however, is that ad breaks are generally always fewer and shorter on Tubi.

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Pluto and Tubi ads summary

Often with comparisons, there is a more balanced outcome where some homes may be better off with one service while other homes will prefer the other service. That’s not really the case for us in this comparison considering both Pluto TV and Tubi are free services and overlap a lot in terms of the content. With no cost difference, and ads used extensively on both, we feel Tubi is the better option for those wanting a lighter ad experience in general.

None of this is to say that Pluto TV isn’t worth using, as it is. While the Pluto TV and Tubi libraries are similar, they are different enough that homes may find some episodes and movies are only available on one of the services at a time. For videos that are only available on Pluto, watching for free is a great option, even if the ad breaks are longer and more frequent.

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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.

Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or say hi on Twitter

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