Saturday Night Live is the first television show to announce reduced commercial loads, offsetting the decline in the number of spots with the addition of more sponsored content within the show. Creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels says commercial time in the show has grown over the years, and the new move will give time back to the show and make it easier to watch live.
How will this impact advertisers, and more specifically, media buyers?
For starters, this should come as no surprise. Reducing commercial loads and increasing in-show sponsored content falls directly in line with industry objectives to reduce commercial clutter to give viewers an enhanced viewing experience and advertisers better results. While SNL's approach is expected to increase gains in ad recall and purchase intent, it is likely these "commercials within, and part of, shows" will roll out via live-to-air programming only, at least successfully and without blowing a year's budget in 30 seconds.
The end goal, really, is to fix problems in audience targeting, where viewers are overexposed to and fatigued by promotional messages. Whether for in-show sponsored content or traditional commercials, modern marketing calls for the creation of engaging ad formats, served to the right people and in the precisely right way.
This is why the human element matters so much in media buying. Like today's investor, the modern media buyer is more sophisticated than ever, guided by audience sentiment and an unmistakable understanding of the brand business – and budget – to make the best decisions. This includes deploying strategies based on broad reach versus custom content, full versus self versus managed service, TV and radio convergence with mobile, and understanding marketplace conversion paths.
Media buyers with a strong grip on these deployment strategies, lest we mention Netflix's content tourism crackdown and depreciating values, will make the art of the buy at this year's Upfronts more chill than ever.