The network is also offering another marketing effort to keep viewers around during ad breaks.
This season, Fox decided to cut commercial time by 50% in two of its rookie dramas, "Fringe" and "Dollhouse," running five minutes of national commercial time versus the typical 10. The effort was to discourage viewers from switching to another program using their remotes.
Nesvig noted that advertisers got plenty of value; research showed that viewers did stick more around during commercial breaks. But Nesvig admits the strategy did not receive the necessary overall revenue to make it work. MDN, "Fox Won't Repeat TV Ad Reductions," March 13, 2009 ).
"Probably in a stronger [economic] environment, it would have continued." Nesvig says that using Remote Free TV on occasional episodes -- with a specific push from advertisers -- might make sense.
Some advertisers paid premiums of 40% or more for those limited commercial spots in "Fringe" and "Dollhouse." Before each break, a message would appear for viewers saying, for example, that "Dollhouse would return in 60 seconds."
"There are a bunch of other initiatives we are working on to keep viewers through with show," says Nesvig.
One of those is something called "Alive Air," according to Kevin Reilly, president of Fox Entertainment. Reilly says spontaneous program-related content elements will appear in commercial breaks, created by show producers, to keep viewer from switching to other shows.