Wednesday 30 May 2007

Commercials Change Tack

Back Stage reports that American television networks are going to try a number of innovations to stop their audiences from fast-forwarding through the commercials on the shows they've recorded with a DVR. It coincides with a week in which the Nielsen Media Research started to offer ratings for commercial breaks as well as television shows.

One of the ideas gaining popularity is "content wraps", used by the CW network. In one example a hair care company abandoned a typical advertisement to present beauty tips and interviews with the network's stars, which used the company's products. Another idea is to intersperse competition clues during commercial breaks, or to embed advertisements on a show's web site. Product placement will probably become ubiquitous in the future.

"We all need to become more creative in how we incorporate sponsors into a program," said Ed Swindler, executive vice president for NBC Universal ad sales. "No one on the creative side or the business side wants to make commercials intrusive, but we do need to commercialize efficiently so viewers can afford to get free television."

An estimated 17 percent of American homes now have digital video recorders. Nielsen estimates that in prime-time, nearly half of 18-to-49-year-old viewers with DVRs are watching recorded programs instead of live ones. Of these, six in 10 skip through the ads.

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