NBC to Trim TV Commercials

If those blaring SUV ads are challenging your attention span or DVR trigger finger, here’s some good news: NBC recently announced plans to trim advertising time by 10 percent and reduce the number of breaks by 20 percent, starting with the coming fall season.

NBC also plans to introduce new ad formats, including a 60-second “prime pod” with two advertisers that appears in the first or last break of a show.

Overall, the network says it will reduce commercials on more than 50 original primetime shows but the advertising on repeat programs will remain the same.

Why this, why now?

Legacy television networks need to make their lucrative (but shrinking) advertising base more palatable to viewers who are flocking to ad-free streaming and video-on-demand platforms.

NBC had already trimmed ads on Saturday Night Live last year and is now applying the approach more broadly. The network is also mulling other potential innovations such as picture-in-picture ads and social commercials with real-time viewer comments.

mround's picture

But all that will happen is that NBC will get less money. The local station will fill up more time with inane "our news is the greatest" stuff. The actual shows will still be just as long as they were, leaving 20 minutes or more per hour for commercials.

FWIW, even PBS is there - they run "enhanced" announcements for at least 15 minutes at the end of every show that are indistinguishable from commercials. Then they preempt everything for pledge drives every other month. We've gotten to the point where the TV is for watching movies (disc or streaming), watching selected streaming shows, or playing video games, except for occasional news or specific (pre-verified to actually be running) PBS stuff.