Fox Sports Plans to Air Six-Second Ads During NFL Games

Short video ads are common on Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube and other online platforms, whereas 15-second and 30-second ads dominate on broadcast TV. Fox Sports is now bringing the six-second TV commercial to NFL games and other programming. After testing it during its August broadcast of the Teen Choice Awards, Fox now hopes to make the six-second ad an industry standard. The reason is that the younger demographic, more accustomed to abbreviated video ads on social media, is pushing back against broadcast TV’s long ad breaks.

The New York Times reports that, “NFL fans will first see the ads on Fox on Sept. 10 just before kickoff in the network’s games on the regular season’s opening weekend.”

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“When the six-second ads are placed in unique positions, it has the potential to gain even more attention than a traditional unit,” said Fox Sports president Eric Shanks, who adds that the new ads are also on offer for the World Series and other “marquee events.”

The new short ads will be integrated “sparingly” into “some in-game breaks with 15- and 30-second spots” and may be placed “through new formats, like in a box adjacent to players on a field during pauses.” The hope is to “eventually help reduce the overall commercial time that people sit through.”

For the Teen Choice Awards, Fox was also able to charge “roughly as much for the six-second spots on the show as it did for 15-second ads,” because it convinced advertisers that the ads “improved the odds people would stay in their seats while fostering some good will with a quicker interruption.” Fox is maintaining that premium with the shorter ads. “While the ads are being sold as part of broader packages, a six-second spot could cost, at the high end, around $200,000,” say sources.

The strategy, notes NYT, is one that “broadcasters are deploying to keep the attention of consumers who often clutch a smartphone or tablet — or both — while watching their shows, or avoid ads entirely through Netflix.”

The trend has already been towards shorter ads, reports Nielsen, with 36 percent of national TV ads 15-seconds long in the first half of 2017; 49 percent were 30 seconds. That compares with 2014, when 29 percent were 15 seconds and 61 percent were 30 seconds. Fox Networks Group also plans to debut six-second ads on its digital platforms and “eventually on TV.”