Following what is quickly becoming an industry movement, National Geographic Channel said it would cut ads in new series and specials in the U.S. by 25% and air documentaries commercial free as it seeks to win revenue from advertisers as part of the “upfront” market.
The move will create “a TV experience that amplifies brands and commands maximum attention from viewers,” said Toby Byrne, president of advertising sales of Fox Networks Group, which controls National Geographic through a joint venture with the fabled exploration society.
Viacom and Time Warner’s Turner have announced efforts to trim the number of ads they run during certain shows or dayparts. Turner intends to cut ads on its TruTV network, for instance, and reduce the amount of commercials that accompany some new dramas set to launch on TNT. As a new generation of viewers grows accustomed to seeing fewer ads on streaming-video and video-on-demand, media companies have begun to work to make the linear-TV experience emulate that found on other screens.
National Geographic said it expected to cut ad loads on series such as “Mars,” from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard; the relaunch of the signature series “Explorer”; and Ridley Scott’s TV movie adaptation of Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s best-selling book “Killing Reagan,” which will star Tim Matheson and Cynthia Nixon.
Fox also intends to cut back some ads at its FX network, Randy Freer, president and chief operating officer of Fox Networks Group, told Variety earlier this week. On Fox Broadcasting, the hit series “Empire” runs with fewer ads than the normal TV drama.