After cluttering up shows with commercials, promos and announcements, programmers seem to be flocking around the radical notion that fewer ads = better ads.
For instance, Fox’s Sunday shows this fall will exclusively contain “Jazz” pods made up of just two spots per break. By 2020, Joe Marchese, Fox’s president for ad revenue, wants to have only two minutes of commercials per hour in the network’s primetime programming.
Fox’s announcement followed NBCUniversal’s declaration that it would be cutting the ad time in the original primetime programming on all of its networks by 10%. Turner and Viacom have also cut ad loads on show on some of their networks.
In addition to cutting commercials, Fox and NBC are looking at better ways to help sponsors get their messages to consumers. Fox will be creating branded content to run in what had been commercial time; NBC rolled out a number of creative executions designed to tie the advertiser more closely to the programming thematically. NBC and others have already started to embrace formats including picture-in-picture ads and six-second spots.
The moves come as the networks are trying to convince advertisers to stop buying commercials based on Nielsen demographic ratings and instead zero in on the networks and shows that best target their customers and get results.
Linda Yaccarino, chairman for ad sales and client partnerships at NBCU, said C3 and C7 ratings don’t have anything to do with the things that matter, include recall, attention, consideration, engagement and lift. “We want to guarantee to our advertisers that we’re putting them in the most important, relevant positions that will deliver them the best [return on investment] they can find in the ecosystem.”