A&E Networks' Bio Channel is testing the concept of fewer ads per hour with a new variety show that launched last night. "The Chris Isaak Hour" contains only eight minutes of national
advertising, down from 11 in a normal one-hour program. Two of the show's four commercial breaks will be limited to one 60-second advertisement.
The question is whether networks can
make up for a potential loss of ad revenue by getting advertisers to pony up for the opportunity to stand out in a less crowded field. So far Pfizer and Procter & Gamble Co. are among the marketers
taking part in A&E's experiment.
Advertisers greeted a similar venture from Fox with open arms -- and open wallets. So eager were marketers to test out this new method that they paid a premium of 40% to run ads during "Fringe," according to media buyers. Fox is also trying this method with another new program, "Dollhouse," which is produced by Joss Whedon, famous for cable hit "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."