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New Research from FreeWheel’s Viewer Experience Lab and MediaScience Reveals Actionable Insights for Optimizing Viewer Experience and Brand Impact

Latest report, “Designing a Better Ad Pod,” shares key considerations for publishers on how to structure their ad breaks in terms of length, architecture and frequency.

Among the key findings: Ad breaks of two minutes or less can improve brand impact and ad experience.

Today, FreeWheel, a global technology platform for the television advertising industry, released new findings from its Viewer Experience Lab initiative. The report, Designing a Better Ad Pod, explores how publishers can optimize the quantity and frequency of ads in an ad pod to improve viewer experience and brand results.

The new findings come at a time when content continues to fragment across streaming platforms, making it imperative for content owners to focus on improving the ad experience to maintain viewers’ attention and favorability. Developed in partnership with MediaScience, this is the first research of its kind to provide insights on how to best optimize ad pods.

“When we launched this initiative at Cannes, we committed to driving it forward through research and innovation in order to understand how consumers feel and react to ads and how we can improve their overall viewing experience,” said Mark McKee, General Manager, FreeWheel. “With so much choice for consumers on how and where they engage with content, it’s more important than ever that platforms prioritize the viewer. This research provides practical considerations for publishers to make the ad experience better and limit subscription churn, while giving brands the best environment to connect with viewers.”

In the study, 700 viewers participated in at-home or in-lab viewing environments and were shown programming with varied ad pod lengths, ad durations and frequency. They were then surveyed in real-time to understand their perception of the ad experience and test their recall of ads within the content.

The FreeWheel Viewer Experience Lab and MediaScience then analyzed their responses to create a report that provides research-backed insights that can be used to design optimal ad pods and a positive viewer experience:

  • Pod Length: Ad breaks of two minutes or less can improve brand impact and ad experience.
  • Pod Architecture: Grouping consistent ad lengths within individual pods can improve ad sentiment and make breaks feel shorter.
  • Frequency: Capping the frequency of each ad at two to three per program can positively impact ad recognition and brand purchase intent.

"This is ground-breaking research that empowers media planners to best capitalize on their investment,” said Dr. Duane Varan, CEO, MediaScience. “By applying a research-based approach to a commonsense problem, the findings finally give due regard to key characteristics of the ad pod, while also optimizing the ad environment for viewers. It’s win-win all around."

Designing a Better Ad Pod is part of ongoing research from FreeWheel to help the TV industry improve the ad environment for viewers across all premium video platforms. The goal of the Viewer Experience Lab is to educate the industry and inspire innovation to address this important and complex topic. Further custom research studies across the other core areas, Quality and Relevance, are expected to launch later in 2024.

The full report can be downloaded here.

For additional VX information and access to all VX research, visit

About FreeWheel

FreeWheel empowers all segments of The New TV Ecosystem. We are structured to provide the full breadth of solutions the advertising industry needs to achieve their goals. We provide the technology, data enablement and convergent marketplaces required to ensure buyers and sellers can transact across all screens, across all data types, and all sales channels, in order to ensure the ultimate goal – results for marketers. With offices in New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Beijing, and across the globe, FreeWheel, A Comcast Company, stands to advocate for the entire industry through the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. For more information, please visit, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About MediaScience

MediaScience is a global pioneer in media and advertising innovation research - being the first research company to test most advertising models across most media platforms. With an extensive toolbox of in-lab and in-home solutions, as well as technology solutions developed in-house, MediaScience uses the power of experimental design to answer a myriad of research questions. Its award-winning research has been recognized globally and regularly features in top tier peer reviewed journals.


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