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When flipping replaces TV zapping and zipping?

Pranay Shah Singh

Partner, Strategy



When flipping replaces TV zapping and zipping?

Back in the 1950s, the remote control was invented to allow viewers to mute annoying commercials or skip to another channel. The first was called Lazy Bones.

Most viewers dislike most advertising, so they zip or zap it.

Zapping (def): using the remote control to switch to another channel as soon as the commercial break comes on.

Zipping (def): fast-forwarding through the commercial break while watching a pre-recorded programme.

Now advertisers have to content with “flipping”, the new way of skipping ads. The TV keeps playing - you don’t switch the channel or forward the show - you just flip the screen, and peer at your mobile phone.

The screen shifts, the attention shifts, the channel does not. Nor do the TV ratings. Television planning has traditionally taken ad-avoidance into account - Break Ratings have always been 60-70 percent lower than program ratings. This is changing. The difference in average ratings between program and break is now negligible.

This means:

  1. Audio in TV advertising plays a greater role in creating audible brand memory cues
  2. A growing need for native advertising and compelling storytelling on TV
  3. Building on dual-screening opportunities to amplify sequential messaging  

There’s a skip ad button, we haven’t seen … and, it’s flipping us!