With the increasing popularity of DVR, many people are now skipping right over commercial breaks that advertisers pay big bucks to show. Games, quizzes, and mini-dramas are being creatively inserted throughout commercials in order to up their viewership.
According to the Associated Press, product pitches are beginning to appear in television programs more often because they’re guaranteed to be seen there. Two programs using this idea and featuring no commercial breaks will be aired on a trial basis on NBC in the fall.
Ed Swindler, executive vice president for NBC Universal ad sales said to the Associated Press, “We do need to commercialize efficiently so viewers can afford to get free television.” They don’t want commercials to be intrusive but they are a necessary evil.
About 17 percent of Americans currently have DVRs and the number will continue to grow. It is estimated that about half of DVR owners watch recorded prime-time television. Sixty percent of those skip over the ads. Combine this with snack and bathroom breaks and channel surfers and advertisers are not getting as many viewers as is desirable.
Content wraps are the CW network’s new plan. These content wraps present tips and interviews with the company’s products mixed in. Advertisers liked this idea so instead of the intended six, fourteen content wraps were produced.
TNT used a different strategy. They were airing a five-part mini-series but instructed viewers to watch the last part on the internet instead. The website was full of the company’s ads so everyone was sure to see them.
Court TV is hosting a murder mystery during their commercials. Throughout breaks, clues to the murderer are given. There is a $25,000 prize for the winner.
NBC’s Scrubs asks trivia questions before commercial breaks and gives the answer in the middle.
Many creative methods are being used. One show airs commercials on a television that is being watched on the show.
In the past, commercial messages were often incorporated into the entertainment. Characters would mention the sponsor’s product or use it in some way.
Advertisers are realizing that now, more than ever, it is important to make commercials entertaining. People are also more likely to watch a commercial they haven’t seen before. Rotating a fresh batch of fun to watch commercials is a successful new strategy.
A new rating strategy is being put into place that shows how many viewers are watching commercials at a certain time. Researchers believe this will be a rude awakening for many advertisers and force them to increase the quality and creativity of their ads.
DAVID BAUDER. TV Networks seek ways to end ad skipping. Yahoo news. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070529/ap_en_tv/tv_sneaky_ads_6