PBS to Add Commercials During Shows
Public broadcast execs explain the decision by pointing to the steep drop-off in ratings when traditional messages were aired between shows.
PBS is breaking from its long-term model and adding commercials to shows, PBS officials told member stations at a recent conference in Orlando.
Instead of airing breaks every 50 minutes, as the public broadcaster does now, it will air them every 15 minutes beginning this fall, according to the New York Times. Nature and Nova are two of the shows that will contain corporate and foundation sponsor ads, promotional messages and branding every 15 minutes.
Feelings about the move are mixed.
“One of the biggest things they have to sell is that they are noncommercial,” David D. Oxenford, a partner with the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, which represents several public broadcasters, told the Times.
Said Alberto Ibargüen, a former PBS board chairman and president and chief executive of the Knight Foundation, "My first reaction is that in any kind of marketing opportunity, if you give up something that is desirable and differentiates you from your competition, it’s too bad, and that’s what this is."
But he said the public broadcaster did not make this move in haste. "The people of PBS would not do this lightly."
John F. Wilson, the chief programming executive for PBS, pointed to the steep drop off of audience members once the promotional spots aired at the end of the shows: "It’s almost as if someone pulled the fire alarm and they scrambled for the exits."
(PBS did not provide specific ratings figures.)
“I’d look really carefully at a Masterpiece drama, at how we’d do that or how often we’d do that,” he added.
Now producers will have to restructure their shows to contain breaks.
“It’s not like this is untested, uncharted territory in some respect,” said Wilson.
Antiques Roadshow will begin airing sponsor messages in January "between looking at Grandma’s sofa and the 1850s flintlock someone had in their basement,” Oxenford told the Times.
- Prince Takes Over the 'Arsenio Hall Show,' Debuts New Funky Song
- A Train, a Trestle and 60 Seconds to Escape: How 'Midnight Rider' Victim Sarah Jones Lost Her Life
- 'Divergent' Star Shailene Woodley: The Next Jennifer Lawrence?
- 'Noah' Banned in Several Middle Eastern Countries
- Lindsay Lohan's OWN Series Gets First Official Trailer (Video)
- MOST SHARED
- MOST POPULAR
- This Guy's Acapella Version Of Mike Tyson's 'Punch Out' Will Make You Nostalgic (VIDEO)
- Conan O'Brien Gives Body-Slam Filled Review Of The WWE 2K14 Video Game
- George Lopez Returns With 'Saint George' And Talks Diversity On Television (VIDEO)
- Brittany Murphy & Dakota Fanning Were The Perfect Couple In 'Uptown Girls'
- Ian Somerhalder Sings Smokey Robinson Classic in 'Esquire China' Behind the Scene Video - Watch Now!
- 'Glee'Actor Harry Shum Jr. is Engaged to Girlfriend Shelby Rabara!
- Nicole Richie Proudly Rocks New Purple Hair at Lunch with Joel Madden!
- Zooey Deschanel's 'New Girl' & Mindy Kaling's 'Mindy Project' Get Early Renewals From Fox!