Or does it even matter anymore?
This past Sunday Night, FOX debuted a new advertising initiative to have fewer blocks of ad spots in exchange for more show. The result saw some time shifts for The Simpsons which kicked off at 8 pm, Bob’s Burgers at 830 pm, and Family Guy at 9 pm with a 50% ad load decrease and entertainment blocks centered around sports. This format will continue on October 21st and November 11th.
The problem is, in traditional television, advertisements keep the lights on at broadcast television networks. So unless if the network is planning on cutting costs somewhere (like selling off a bunch off assets in the form of the 20th Century FOX sell off to Disney set to be official on January 1st), FOX is gonna need to pay whatever losses would be had from the normal ad loads and there are only a few ways to do that: 1) FOX could increase the cost of it’s existing ad loads which might be a tough sell in an increasingly cable-cutting environment. 2) FOX could raise costs to cable/satellite providers, thereby raising the cost of keeping those subscriptions. We’re already seeing that with a recent dispute with FOX and Altice that could potentially affect NYC metro customers in the future.
The problem here, more FOX/cable provider conflicts could come which would eventually result in some sort of a cost increase to consumers if the network can’t make a deal that would satisfy the production and staffing costs that New FOX would need to sustain itself. Not saying New FOX is poor, but the network is going to want to continue to show a scale of profitability if the company is going to eventually satisfy shareholders.
In the end, consumers are going to have to pick which way they want to go if they want to watch their favorite FOX programming. More ads or more money spent on cable. The alternative would be a streaming service like Hulu that would feature all of that programming, but with Disney’s purchase of 20th Century FOX, New FOX would have no stake in the only streaming service that rivals Netflix and Amazon and as such could potentially feel compelled to keep their original series exclusive to linear/ self-serving streaming service much in the same way CBS is doing it today with CBS/CBS All Access.
From a usability standpoint, the new ad blocks on FOX are pretty rad. They feature timers that let you know how far away you are from going back to the show, however, I don’t know if I’m willing to shell out more cash to my provider for this same access if this were to become the regular format going forward.