The 6-Second Ad: What it Means for TV

16 August 2017 • tvsquared

Last Sunday, Fox ran several 6-second ads during the “Teen Choice Awards.” Depending on the performance of these type of slots, there could be major implications for live event advertising in 2018 – most notably, sporting events.

In theory, these “mini ads” move in and out of programming without disrupting the content like traditional, four-minute ad breaks. Viewers, already engaged with the show, do not have time to leave the room or even skip these type of ad. The potential to reach a very large, engaged audience is there.

Think about American football. The NFL requires 20 commercial breaks during a game, each lasting 1-to-2 minutes. But there are plenty of other times when the game isn’t actively being played – if a player is injured, during huddles or reviews. Down time like that could create scores of new advertising slots.

For advertisers, it means being able to reuse digitally created content for TV and possibly reaching wider, more engaged audiences. In some ways, this feels like the end-cap sponsorships that are popular in the UK (5-second mentions before commercial breaks). While the 6-second slot may not be ideal for direct response, it could prove valuable for brand awareness, especially as a non-intrusive frequency play.

For networks, it’s more inventory, especially at the local and addressable levels and, ultimately, revenue.

These ads will not take the place of traditional ad breaks; and for scripted TV, they are not even an option. But for live events, they could result in shorter traditional breaks. It’s an innovative step by Fox – now they have to prove to advertisers that it really works.