We gravitate to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime so that we can watch our video content when we want and how we want, without commercials. It has been the rise in commercial minutes per hour that has hastened the departure of viewers from linear TV. But perhaps slowly, networks are recognizing that too many commercials may be a wrong play.
Starting next year, Saturday Night Live, an NBC late night staple for 40 plus years, is reducing the number of commercials by 30%. According to Ad Age, "It will do this by removing two commercial breaks per episode, giving
viewers more content, said Linda Yaccarino, chairman-advertising sales
and client partnerships, NBC Universal." In addition, it will also use branded original content to drive ad revenue. It may not be as blatant as Jack Benny selling Lucky Strike cigarettes or Jello, but it will certainly attach a particular brand to real content. Certainly more appealing than most of the commercials that currently air.
The article also adds that other cable networks are also considering reducing ad load. "Viacom and Turner are also working to reduce the number of commercial minutes in prime time." Let's hope that more follow. And while the cost of an ad may rise, so too may be the number of viewers that stick with a linear show and continue to watch.