YouTube TV has started accepting sponsorships for its popular ‘Enjoy the Zen’ moments, effectively turning them into ads. While it currently remains to be seen when exactly the change happened, or how widespread these new sponsored Zen moments are, subscribers have already started noticing the change.
These Zen moments have always proved popular with YouTube TV subscribers. Instead of showing an ad, YouTube TV shows a short relaxing video along with an “Enjoy the Zen. We’ll be right back” message. Zen moments have proven so popular in the past that subscribers routinely request YouTube TV creates a dedicated ‘Moments of Zen’ channel.
Now, however, subscribers have started noticing these Zen moments have been turned into sponsored adverts. In one example detailed on Reddit, the Zen moment shows a “This breaks brought to you by Progressive” message across the screen for the entirety of the video.
Even though users who have seen the change note that the sponsored versions don’t necessarily ruin the Moment of Zen, and is still better than a traditional ad, they do note that it is still disappointing to see these moments become sponsored moments.
Some others, however, do feel the change totally ruins the experience, and the purpose of these breaks.
While never confirmed by YouTube, many have always suspected that these moments were introduced in a bid to fill ad space that was never sold. Especially as they replaced the more traditional ‘we’ll be right back’ filler videos that YouTube TV used to show, and most other services still show, when they have no ad to play.
Assuming that is the case, and with Alphabet (Google’s parent company) having continually reported YouTube ad revenue declines over the past few quarters, these new sponsored Zen moments seem likely to be a way to increase revenue at a time when advertisers are spending less in general.
Whether that means these sponsored Zen moments will become more common in the future, or just currently being used as a temporary revenue generator, remains to be seen.