ESPN/ABC CEO considering shortening number of commercial breaks


College football fans’ prayers may finally be answered, as the top provider of live game content is reportedly considering limiting the number of commercial breaks on ESPN and ABC.

According to, Disney CEO Bob Iger may be in agreement with college football fans thinking there are too many commercials interrupting our games. The Time Warner-owned TruTV has been experimenting with limited commercial breaks and found much success with the move, something Iger has apparently noticed.

“I think that in general, there is probably too much commercial interruption in television,” Iger told investors on the company’s first-quarter earnings call. Disney will specifically look at lowering ad load on ABC and ESPN.

This is not a completely original thought for a television executive. In 2015, Time Warner started experimenting with lower ad loads during its TruTV primetime programming. Viacom and 21st Century Fox also started experimenting with ways to reduce ads for viewers at the end of 2015.

TruTV’s positive results have followed after the channel cut advertising in half. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes expressed his pleasure with the move to cut advertising on his channel.

Advertiser response has been extremely positive. We are seeing improved ratings because there’s less dislocation going into the advertising pot and coming out, and we have seen higher consumer satisfaction and higher brand recall.

Many have complained at the length of college football games, as the games continue to drag on and on, many passing the four-hour mark. While cutting commercials is the obvious solution to fixing the problem, asking networks to cut into their advertising budget seemed unrealistic considering the price the networks pay to televise the games.

However, if ratings rise with fewer stoppages, the networks could conceivably sell the advertisements for higher figures and still keep the games flowing faster with fewer breaks. At the very least, it’s nice to know the man at the top of the ESPN/ABC pyramid acknowledges the issue and is working toward a solution.

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  • Ughh something about that headline is bugging me. Would they ‘shorten’ the number? Or shorten the time or duration of the commercial breaks? Perhaps ‘lessen’ the number? Don’t mean to seem pedantic, just reading it was like nails on a chalk board. Oh, and I’m all for this, I hate commercials!

  • THANK YOU! Don’t pull a CBS & try to shorten the game & increase commercials, they are the problem, just lessen the # of commercials & price them hire, that works

    • At least we don’t have to listen to Verne anymore. Now if they could do something about the commercials and get rid of Danielson we would be set.

  • I heard CBS is going to run nothing but commercials and relegate the game to the bottom right 1/4 of the screen.

  • “I think that in general, there is probably too much commercial interruption in television,” Iger told investors on the company’s first-quarter earnings call…Oh really, ya think?

  • more halftime commercials would be fine, even at the expense of their college football scoreboard shows. Most of those are boring anyway.. Run through the game updates/highlights real quick for anybody interested and let the commercials run.
    These commercial breaks after almost every score then again after kickoff are ridiculous.