Every time I lie down on the couch and put on Hulu to watch Bob’s Burgers, I get that screen asking me if I would like to have a very quick interactive commercial or a much longer string of normal commercials. It’s really annoying for a number of reasons. But the main reason I do nothing is that it would require that get up every five minutes to interact with the computer. I’m relaxing, watching Bob’s Burger’s for Christ’s sake. I can put up with the commercials. I don’t want to jump up all the time just so I don’t have to watch a few extra commercials.
But there is more to it than that. I’ve done the interactive commercial in the past. And it has been a nightmare each time. For one thing, they make it very confusing. It isn’t a thing where they ask you if you’d if you like golfing and then tell you to buy a particular putter. Now, it is, for example, a film trailer. There is a 30 second countdown. But there’s also a “close” button. If you use it, it starts the whole thing over with a new 30 second clock. But once you figure out that you shouldn’t do that, I guess it is okay.
The whole thing is meant to confuse you, however. There isn’t really much in the way of interaction, other than the fact that you do have to interact with it. If you just let it go on, it will never stop. At the end, you are in a loop like in a DVD menu. And you are left in that state, you may think you can click “close” because that’s the only thing that makes sense. Instead, you have to click something on the screen. The “close” button doesn’t go away after the 30 seconds transpire. You have to click something and only then will the button appear that allows you to get back to Bob’s Burgers.
Another interesting thing about it is that the “normal commercial break” is never the two minutes they claim. On average, it is about 1:15. And sometimes, it is less. Sometimes there is no commercial break at all — it just goes right back to the show. So over all, the best the interactive commercial does is cut your commercial time in half.
It’s worse though! It takes time for the interactive commercial to load. And then, it takes time to “interact” and click the button to return to the show. But even more frustrating is that the interactive commercial has crashed on me twice, causing me to have to start the entire show over again. So in addition to not getting such a great benefit, the interactive commercial offers the potential for television viewing catastrophe.
There is something else about the whole process: the choice screen itself. You have to wait for 15 second to make your choice. Those who want the interactive commercial, can just click and get rid of it. So I suppose that works in its favor. Hulu is willing to slow down normal viewers just for the opportunity to get people to use their interactive commercial. This annoys me even more. But on top of this, we have a man’s voice that is distinctly louder than the show telling us that we have this great opportunity to “interact” and get “right back” to the show.
This is the kind of short-term profit thinking that defines the modern world. And it makes me just want to wait until the whole season is available on Netflix. But I do continue to watch it, because it is Bob’s Burgers. But that’s all I watch; I don’t stick around for The Simpsons anymore.