It’s symbolic of a unique conundrum TV networks face currently. Streaming services need to run ads during big live events on TV. But ultimately they threaten to hammer the TV ad business.
Netflix last night handed NBC upwards of $5 million for a Super Bowl ad — just to tell an expected television audience of 100 million or so people to stream an-out of-nowhere sequel to sci-fi hit “Cloverfield” after the game. Stream it, that is, instead of watching NBC’s all-new, way-hyped, episode of “This is Us.”
Hulu also ran a Super Bowl ad to promote its upcoming series from Stephen King and J.J. Abrams called “Castle Rock.” Amazon did the same for its new “Jack Ryan” series, as did HBO to promote a trailer for season 2 of “Westworld.”
All told, they streaming services likely paid over $20 million on advertising meant to encourage people to watch TV without commercials instead of tuning in to, say, a major sporting event.
Meanwhile, NBC’s own ads during the game showed us what it wants people to do: stick around for that super-emotional “This is Us” and remember to tune in to the Winter Olympics starting next weekend. NBC is also hoping that you’ll make an appointment to watch that upcoming “Friday Night Lights”/”Hamiton” hybrid “Rise.”