Fox Hits Snag With Limited-Commercials Rollout


Cutting back on ads is a perennial point of discussion for broadcasters as they battle their digital counterparts for audiences. Fox Networks Group wanted to roll out a reduced-commercials format this season — specifically for Sunday nights — but that plan has apparently run aground, according to Ad Agency.

The plan was to remove 40 percent of ad time in more than 40 Sunday nights of the year. But while Fox is still trying to sell its one-minute breaks (“just a and z” pods or “Jaz”), it has apparently only penciled in three Sunday nights: October 14 and 21, and November 11. So far the company is staying mum on the subject.

The situation doesn’t sit well with buyers. “Every other day they come out with a new way to sell it,” one media buyer said.

The limited-commercial format also caught the attention of TV star Seth MacFarlane, and Fox is now exploring the possibility of selling Jaz pods in the entire season of MacFarlane’s sci-fi dramedy “The Orville,” which will return midseason on Thursdays. Fox is also selling Jaz pods in shows like “Wicked Tuna” on National Geographic, and “The Weekly” on FX. It is also keeping some inventory in reserve, hoping to sell more pods on additional Sunday nights or other nights of the week, according to buyers.

Meanwhile, Ad Age reports, NBC Universal has had a better run with its limited-commercials plan, according to buyers, selling one-minute breaks that will take up the first commercial break of a show.