Fox Networks Group announced today that, by 2020, they plan to cut their per-hour commercial time to 2 minutes per hour. According to Nielsen data, they currently average 13 minutes per hour on their broadcast networks and 16 on their cable channels.
They join TNT, TBS, and NBC, who all previously announced plans to unload commercial time in favor of giving certain shows more breathing room.
Fox didn’t specify if this is an across-the-board goal, or if it’ll only apply to certain shows. They did confirm each timeslot would then cost more, as they’d be in shorter supply.
It makes me wonder if that’ll be enough to make up the reduced advertising income, or if they’ll resort to increased product placement in their shows. Will Homer suddenly swap out Duff for a specific real-world brand? Will every police procedural suddenly have an affinity for specific brands of coffee/donuts/guns?
They may also be planning on using replaceable in-show ads and product placement, meaning that the in-episode product placements can be swapped out for each broadcast. This is already a real thing. It may also be more lucrative in the long-term, since shows in syndication could have different laundry detergent and soda brands every time you see them.
People are getting used to watching commercial-free shows & movies via streaming services, and there’s an entire generating coming up whose primary mode of entertainment could be the ad-free content on Prime Video or Netflix. Networks might be bracing themselves for a future where advertising is entirely integrated into the program itself, much like parents sneak vegetables into their kids meals. These integrated ads will be the peas in our mac & cheese, you might say. I guess by 2020 we’ll have a better idea how they restructure their revenue strategy.
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