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 Madison.com, 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.