NBC's Prime Pod Effort Scores High Ad Metrics

NBC says its slimmed-down commercial Prime Pod initiative -- which started in fourth-quarter 2018 -- has scored strong ad metrics for marketers.

Prime Pod -- part of NBCUniversal's effort to reduce advertising time by 10% in the quarter -- is a commercial pod just 60 seconds long. It runs in the first or last break of a prime-time show and contains up to two advertisers' messages for stronger viewer impact.

NBC says a qualitative study conducted by Ameritest showed marketers that participated in the Prime Pod effort had 28% better engagement versus traditional pods; 27% greater ad awareness; 21% increased brand interest; and 8% more likely to make a purchase.

In addition, there was 12% more search engagement.

NBC say Prime Pods do even better when it comes to consumers getting new information on a product or service, with unaided recall jumping by 36%; intent to purchase climbing 18%; and intent to learn growing 33%.

In its efforts to cut even more TV commercial time, NBCUniversal will expand its Prime Pod to the network group’s entire roster of TV networks -- beyond prime-time programming -- to include dayparts, such as NBC’’s “Today” and E!’s “E! News' Daily Pop,” and late-night programming.

The effort, initially planned to reduce prime-time ad time by 10% (and the number of ads by 20% ), will aim to reduce ad time by another 10% this year. The original efforts included more than 50 prime-time shows across the NBC broadcast network and cable channels, such as USA and Bravo.

By 2020, NBCU say its goal is to reduce video ad load and ad clutter by more than 20% each in prime time.

Typical network commercial pods can contain three to four or more commercials, running two minutes or more in duration. Media buyers said marketers paid a premium price for Prime Pods.

NBC wasn’t the only broadcast network cutting back on prime time ads during the fourth quarter of the 2018-2019 fall season.

Fox did much of the same with its so-called “JAZ” pods, which stands for ‘Just ‘A’ and ‘Z’” -- first and last placements of commercials, which typically get higher viewership.

3 comments about "NBC's Prime Pod Effort Scores High Ad Metrics".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 5, 2019 at 3:59 p.m.

    Wayne, it remains to be seen whether NBCU is really going to reduce overall primetime commercial clutter by 10%. More likely is that total ad clutter will remain about the same as many standard breaks featuring many ad messages will still be in force. However, I happen to believe that the expansion of the "prime break" concept is a breakthrough idea for the network and its cable channels---the latter, in particular heing heavily commercialized. What surprises me is the use of fuzzy metrics to show the value of the prime breaks that understate their true benefit. Why would an advertiser pay 75% higher CPMs for time in low clutter premium breaks in return for 20-25% better results?

    NBCU should be using verified ad recall and message registration studies as the main sales pitch for such high impact buys as these will probably show much better gains for the advertisers. I assume that NBCU is afraid of doing this because such studies would reveal how poor the performance of commercials in cluttered breaks actually is these days---especially on cable. This is a mistake as anyone who studies the available data--such as numerous ad recall findings---already knows this.

  2. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, March 5, 2019 at 4:57 p.m.

    According to Nielsen, NBC added commercial minutes in primetime the fourth quarter of 2018 (excluding sports).

    The agencies were lied to, and we're letting them get away with it.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 5, 2019 at 5:07 p.m.

    Not surprising, Darrin---but they never said that they would specifically reduce clutter on NBC, just "NBCU", including many cable channels and just on new series in the original announcements. I don't think that dropping one "30" in a standard break which features 6-8 other commercials plus promos and PSAs on NBC's regular primetime breaks makes the slightest difference to many viewers, nor would it offer advertisers in such breaks much if any improvement in ad recall. However, I do believe that the very short breaks would make a major difference and NBC needs to stop underselling this concept and being overly cautious. It also needs to be making a pitch to advertisers, especially the brands, using ad-relevant data, instead of relying on its "friends",  the time buyers, to make the sale at the last minute---as will probably be the case in the upcoming upfront---again.

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