Pretty much everybody gets annoyed by at least some commercials. Unless you're Don Draper or Sammy Jankis from Memento, chances are that you probably find yourself incredibly annoyed whenever your favorite show breaks to show a series of ads. It's why we buy DVR devices, and one of the reasons we love Netflix so much. However, TV networks seem to be catching on to the notion that we all dislike lengthy commercial breaks during our TV watching sessions, and Turner has begun to seriously cut them down as part of our viewing experience.
According to a new report out of the Television Critics Association summer press tour (via Adweek), it looks like TNT plans to continue to reduce the number of ads present during its original programming broadcasts by half. TNT and TBS President Kevin Reilly has confirmed decision that TNT will definitely uphold this idea for the foreseeable future and will extend the 50% ad reduction through at least 2017. In addition, Turner could potentially extend that decision to TBS by 2018 if the company continues to experience success with it.
There already seems to be a proven advantage to reducing the number of commercials in a given original broadcast. Kevin Reilly explained during the TCA event that cutting the number of ads during a show like Animal Kingdom has afforded them to add roughly ten extra minutes of content to the series. The lack of increase in substantive content seems welcomed by fans, as the series has experienced a quantifiable ratings bump in the process. Turner has tinkered with this idea over the course of the last six months on TNT, and the now-proven results have shown them that this method could work across other brands. It has allowed these networks -- once known for movies and syndicated TV series--to become a bigger player in original content.
While this decision could eventually mean fewer commercial breaks, for the time being it simply means that Turner will employee shorter breaks for ads. This has become possible due to Turner's increased use of "native advertising." This form of advertising is far less overt than typical commercial breaks, and is often embedded directly into a content platform as a means informing audiences of a given product or service. Native advertising has proven successful on shows like Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, and as such it could become a major source of ad revenue for Turner in the near future.
However, as exciting as this prospect is for network and viewers alike, Kevin Reilly makes it abundantly clear that this experiment needs to catch on with other networks in order for Turner to continue it. If other companies do not emulate this practice, there remains a distinct possibility that it could become untenable for Turner, and as such TNT and TBS will have to go back to its old method of standard commercial breaks. Let's hope that the new system catches on, as this seems like a brave new world for those of us who enjoy longer binges of uninterrupted television.
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