Fox Wants to Drop Ad Time to Just 2 Minutes Per Hour by 2020

Commercial-free Netflix continues to change everything

Fox wants to shrink the ad time on its channels to just two minutes per hour by 2020, the company told media buyers and advertisers last week.

“The two minutes per hour is a real target for Fox, and also our challenge for the industry,” Ed Davis, chief product officer for ad sales at Fox Networks Group, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “Creating a sustainable model for ad-supported storytelling will require us all to move.”

“We did reduce ad time by 75 percent in FX Originals on-demand last year, and saw great effectiveness in brand lift,” he added. “We are tuning our approach with the new targeting and ad products so we can scale more widely.”

Fox Networks Group (FNG) ad sales boss Joe Marchese first set the lofty goal at a private industry event it held in Los Angeles for advertisers, buyers and rival network executives.

A mere two minutes worth of commercials would be a big change: On broadcast last year, the average amount of ad time per hour was just over 13 minutes, according to Nielsen. Add three more minutes to that for cable, like FNG’s FX.

Such a major reduction in commercial time would necessitate a big price-hike for 15, 30 and 60-second (or 120 seconds, if you want the whole shebang) spots. Fox is hoping the economic rules of supply and demand will keep its advertising revenue steady.

Marchese’s push follows Linda Yaccarino’s: Last week, the NBCUniversal ad guru announced plans to cut commercial time across her networks by 20 percent this fall.

NBCU will also launch a new 60-second contextually-programmed “Prime Pod” during the first or last break of a show dedicated to up to two advertisers, however.

Fox and FNG did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on this story.