Hate TV Commercials? You're In Luck

A Fox experiment with showing fewer commercials hasn’t paid off yet, but a VP from a big ad agency says that should change soon.

As a part of a project it calls “Remote-Free TV,” Fox shows only 10 minutes of commercials during each hour long episode of “Fringe” — three ads per commercial break. Normal hour-long epsidoes on broadcast TV contain about 14 to 16 minutes of ads.

There are three theories behind the experiment:

  • Viewers will remember fewer ads better. So far, so good here. Nieslen says “Remote-Free TV,” commercials have 22% better brand recall.
  • DVR viewers will also be less like to fast-forward through shorter commercial breaks.
  • Fox will be able to charge advertisers enough of a premium for these fewer ads that it will make more money than if it had shown a full compliment of commercials.

We did the maths on the experiment in February and the results didn’t look good. Fringe makes about $900,000 less per episode than it would if it showed a normal amount of ads.

But ad agency Razorfish’s VP of emerging media, Terri Walter, says there’s hope for those who hate watching TV commercials.

She wouldn’t share many details, but Terri told us that judge from data she’s seen serving on a judging committee at the Advertising Reserach Foundation, Fox will have no problems asking agency execs like her to spend more money on “Remote-Free TV” premium spots. 

That group won’t announce its verdict on “Remote-Free TV” till the end of March, but Terri hinted: “Its going to be pretty positive.”

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