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Why TV Ad Tech Could Mean Less Ad Time Overall

December 5th, 2017   ||    by Melanie Brown   ||    No Comments

Earlier this year, Fox Network Groups announced its intent to start selling six-second ads for digital and linear Fox programming. This announcement comes in concert with ever-growing competition for viewership across viewing platforms.

With ad-free streaming services like Netflix and Amazon—as well as the easily skippable ads on Facebook and Google’s YouTube platform—traditional television is finding it must figure out how to adapt. And TV ad tech may be the way to help launch these “micro” ads into the mainstream of linear television, according to MediaPost.

Short and Sweet

Fox’s David Levy—the network group’s champion of the new ad format—is seeking to compete with ad-free viewing experiences while also generating ad revenue. The problem, he claims, is that traditional 15- and 30-second spots are inefficient uses of a viewer’s time.

Viewers these days expect advertising to be relevant, to the point, and non-invasive. The traditional 16-minute ad time per hour of linear television is generally perceived as interruptive, too broadly messaged, and long-winded.

Brevity is what makes Facebook’s and Google’s shorter-form advertising successful. But those platforms also have technology behind them to target and transact on audiences efficiently.


TV ad tech is making strides in audience targeting for linear television, and Fox networks, along with media giant NBCUniversal, is striving to improve its tech stack to better compete with Google and Facebook. Automation will play a significant role in allowing advertisers to transact more efficiently on available inventory.

To be clear, neither Fox nor NBCUniversal is planning on eliminating longer-form ads altogether. They’re seeking to more effectively target the right audiences with the right messaging and allow advertisers to do it in a way that puts these inventory providers on the same playing field as tech-supported buys done through Facebook or Google.

The Next Evolution

TV advertising is always evolving. But the short-form ads being debuted this year will play an important role. If advertisers can start reaching audiences more efficiently, inventory providers will be able to capitalize on the shorter ad time, opening up the potential for increased revenue.

Viewership may also increase with the decreased interruption and more relevant advertising. TV ad sellers—particularly those in broadcast TV—would do well to embrace this change.

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