Fox Network Group has a new plan to stop people from tuning out during commercial breaks. According to Variety, the company is planning a series of sponsored, dramatic shorts around the theme of overcoming adversity. The idea is that videos could generate revenue through sponsorships: A pharmaceutical company, for instance, might sponsor a video about fighting cancer, and an insurance company might sponsor a video about losing a limb. The videos could range from six seconds in length to longer-form expositions and will appear on all Fox-owned channels.
Although Fox has experimented with different ad formats in the past, networks are feeling a greater urgency to shake things up as more viewers turn to ad-free services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu’s No Commercials plan. Last fall, Fox started airing six-second ads during NFL games, supposedly with positive results and has reportedly told media buyers that it wants to reduce the number of prime-time ads it shows by 40%. NBC also plans to cut commercial break times by 10% this fall, and show 20% fewer ads.
Expect to see more experimentation along this line as traditional TV viewing declines.