This year's network upfront ad sales period has been full of surprises. News Corp's (NASDAQ:NWS) Fox announced it's cutting its prime time ad minutes for a couple of new dramas in half, to just five minutes an hour.
Calling the initiative "Remote Free TV," it'll kick off with "Fringe," a sci-fi J.J. Abrams drama which is scheduled to launch next March. And this new "less is more" ad strategy isn't just limited to a handful of new dramas. The head of Fox's ad sales said the company is looking to cut back on the length of commercial pods.
This is all part of a big message to ad buyers that their ads won't get caught in the clutter. And fewer commercials should mean that viewers are more likely to watch those commercials.
That means Fox will probably charge more for those ads. I bet it also means that there will be more product placement, and more show sponsorship. If you're not getting as much money from ads (we'll see if they will) then they're surely going to get that money elsewhere.