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Back to the budget brink

Jul 18, 2019

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An "Empire" trend for TV ad buyers

Stan Alcorn May 11, 2015
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This week, at the annual “Upfronts,” TV networks will be showing off for advertisers. Among other shows, Fox will promote “Empire,” which was the breakout hit last season. But “Empire” may get attention for another reason: An unusual advertising strategy. 

There are more than 14 minutes of ads on the average hour of network television. But “Empire” had closer to 10 minutes, thanks to a strategy of “limited commercial interruption.” 

Billie Gold, VP of TV programming research at Carat, says this strategy makes the available ads more valuable—especially for launching a new product. 

Why isn’t this strategy used more often? 

“Well, you can’t do it all the time is the short answer,” says Brian Wieser, senior analyst at Pivotal Research. “Because there’s only so many advertisers willing to pay so much of a premium.”

He says it’s like the gold-plated Apple Watch of advertising—and there are only so many companies willing to pay that luxury price. 

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