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March 28, 2017

Fewer Television Commercials?

It’s simple, if you are a television viewer, you are being served ads.

It’s simple, if you are a television viewer, you are being served ads.

Even with the abundance of minimal advertising within OnDemand or Over the top content, today’s streaming enviroment is still centered around ads. Commercial breaks have increased in length as this media type expanded from broadcast, to cable, to digital streaming.However, that might all change in the near future, as TV stations might reduce the amount of ad time available. This means shorter commercial breaks, as well as shorter commercials.

At the moment, broadcast and cable TV is supported by commercial content purchased by advertisers. In the advertising agency world, some networks provide a presentation of their upcoming programming to media planners and buyers, who then make the final decision on which networks, shows, and time slots they’d like their client’s content to appear in. This is where TV channels make their money, and until recently, the general idea was that channels would make as much room for commercials as possible, charging more for placement alongside popular shows. Simply, if there is more time for commericals to air, there will be more revenue generated.

Over the past few years, some networks have made the conscious decision to cut back on commericals, hoping that what’s left will be more impactful on the viewer and their buying habits. Is it possible that the commercials that do make it into the smaller window have more lasting power? Or, is this just a way to entice more veiwership?

Viacom, which owns TV Land, MTV, Nickelodeon and several other channels, recently announced that their various channels will be airing less commercials per hour. They are hoping to reduce their commerical per hour from 17-18 to 13-14, which in the media world amounts to 6-8 :30 commerical spots.

Hulu offers commerical free service, but in a new deal with Fox Networks, there is potential to make the ad-supported version of Hulu less painful as well. They are offering “Engament ads”, which allow viewers the ability to reduce the number and length of commercials they see on Fox’s shows, from interruptive ad breaks totaling 2 minutes and 30 seconds, down to just 30 seconds.

Turner-owned networks vowed to reduced their commerical breaks by as much as half stating, “The consumer experience must come first,” and, “We’re dedicated to keeping our content bold, engaging and less cluttered.”

Most recently, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that viewers can expect less commericals during games. Per his twitter account, Goodell stated, “Together with our broadcast partners, we will be working to meaningfully reduce down time and the frequency of commercial breaks in our game. We will also be giving our broadcast partners increased flexibility to avoid untimely breaks in the action.”

So how will this affect the advertiser? Will the reduced number of available commerical spots allow television networks the ability to increase the the cost? Will these reductions minimize the rate at which viewers are cutting the cord? Time will tell, as more and more networks become apt to this trend, but in the meantime I am not complaining.