Turner Tests On-Air Timer That Tells Viewers How Long Until the Show Returns From Commercials

Aug 18, 2016  •  Post A Comment

As part of its ongoing effort to mitigate the impact of ad clutter, Turner Broadcasting is taking a page from the online video playbook. Variety reports that the company is trying out a countdown clock that tells viewers how much time is left in the commercial break.

“TNT’s freshman crime drama ‘Animal Kingdom’ this summer included a timer at the bottom of the screen, on live TV and on VOD systems of pay-TV affiliates, which popped up with 60 seconds left in an ad break,” Variety reports. “Other TV programs like NBC’s ‘Today’ and ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ have used similar on-screen clocks, but Turner’s implementation is believed to be a first for prime-time television.”

Turner has also been experimenting with reduced ad loads on “Animal Kingdom.”

“The show is the first TNT original series to run about 50% fewer ads, with the hour-long broadcasts carrying 8-10 minutes of advertising vs. an average of 15 minutes regularly,” Variety notes. “Turner’s TruTV is set to launch its prime-time slate in the fourth quarter of 2016 with a similarly truncated ad load for shows including ‘Impractical Jokers’ and ‘Billy on the Street.’”

Donna Speciale, president of Turner Ad Sales, is quoted in the story saying: “We want the viewer understand that the (ad) experience is going to feel a lot different. The clock is there to show them that the pods are shorter. … We need to be able to push it out to have the viewer know that it’s even happening.”


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One Comment

  1. How will advertisers feel about having a distraction from the content of their message? With the proliferation of DVRs and skipping features, it would seem Turner is driving another nail into broadcast/cable’s coffin, as a mass medium.

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