YouTube is trying to make commercials great again with longer, fewer ad breaks

The YouTube app listing on the Google Play Store, running on a Google Pixel 8 Pro
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The YouTube app on TVs will start showing less advertisements, but they'll be longer in length. 
  • While the current Skip Ad button comes after about 5-10 seconds, this new format could mean users need to wait a full minute before skipping. 
  • In a related move, YouTube Shorts will now have ads in the TV app. 

Fewer advertisements are a good thing, right? 

That's what Google thinks, as it announced on Thursday that users will start seeing fewer ads in the YouTube app on their TVs. But since there's always a catch, these ads will be longer than usual. It's part of an effort to make "a better streaming experience" for YouTube, according to Google.  

Google cites its own survey data to justify the decision, which says that 79% of people would rather have ads grouped together than spread out over the course of a video. The latter type of ads, called "mid-roll ads," have become much more common on YouTube over the past few years. Google recently began testing fewer ad breaks earlier this year.

Each break will get longer in exchange for a lower number of ad breaks. We don't know how long these breaks will be, but Google says it will either show the time remaining in the break or the time left until it can be skipped. This is the total time for the break, which will likely include multiple ads. It's a departure from how multiple-ad breaks currently work, which show the time remaining for each ad individually, how many ads are in the break, and the time left until you can skip. 

Another consequence of this change is that you'll have to wait a lot longer before you can skip ad breaks. While the default is currently between 5 and 10 seconds, it could go up to or exceed a minute for the new format. In Google's demo of the new ad breaks, the ad starts with 47 seconds remaining before it can be skipped.

The new ad format for YouTube on TVs.

(Image credit: Google)

A banner will also be shown that reads Fewer ad breaks for this long video when the new format is being used. However, Google notes that it is specifically for long-form videos.

The change will apply to the YouTube app for TVs, and this includes Google TV streaming devices, smart TVs, and third-party streaming devices. Google didn't give an exact release date for the shift, only saying that it would "roll out soon."

In a separate move announced in the same blog post, Google said users would start to see ads on YouTube Shorts through the TV app for the first time.

Of course, if you want to avoid ads, you'll have to subscribe to YouTube Premium.

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.

  • mustang7757
    Pick your poison lol
  • fuzzylumpkin
    Gross. Back to the old broadcast TV model that ended up not working I suppose.
  • Mooncatt
    They are also now trying to push streamers to insert ads into their live streams, and I think are looking to make it required even if the streamer doesn't want them.