ESPN tries split-screen commercial

The NFL’s Week 16 action featured experimentation with different approaches to commercials. Shorter breaks with more of them and longer breaks with fewer were planned for the various games, and the reaction to the “back in 30 seconds” approach seemed to be very positive.

Another device, used at least once during Monday night’s ESPN game between Dallas and Detroit, also was well received. Even if it didn’t generate the intended effect.

In the second half, a split screen appeared under an “ESPN Monday Night Football” header. On the left was a large box that played an ad for the Microsoft Surface. On the right was a “Sideline Cam” at the game, with a shot of Cowboys linebacker Sean Lean consulting on the bench with a coach.

It likely was meant to be the ultimate blend of product pitch and product placement, given the prevalence of the bright blue Microsoft devices along the boundaries of every NFL field. Alas, Lee was perusing not the images from a Surface but from an old-school binder full of photographs.

The contrast provided for an intriguing visual. But that’s surely not the outcome the folks at Microsoft were hoping to see.

38 responses to “ESPN tries split-screen commercial

  1. I personally liked the split screen approach.

    the NFL got its Ad time in and I got a glimpse at the players and what they do on the sidelines instead of being forced to watch ads for 3 minutes

  2. If I was the guy paying for the commercial, I wouldn’t like it. I couldn’t tell you what was being advertised. All I was focusing on was the football game.

  3. It would be nice if they would get rid of:

    Team scores and then we go to commercial break…come back just for the kickoff and then cut to another commercial break. That’s one break too many.

  4. Can tell you from having family and friends over over the holidays, which included 12 adults and 8 children, that none were impressed.
    Just go back to the way iwas.

  5. While on the topic, why does Red Zone do split screens which only cover 50 of the screen in total? Why don’t they use closer to 90% in total? It’s the only annoying thing about Red Zone.

  6. “While on the topic, why does Red Zone do split screens which only cover 50 of the screen in total? Why don’t they use closer to 90% in total? It’s the only annoying thing about Red Zone.”

    Aspect ratio?

  7. Formula 1 auto racing has been doing this for years – they run a commercial and have the race going in a smaller box. For once, not a bad idea, NFL – but perhaps they should keep the games going and run the ads during injuries, kickoffs, punts, extra points etc?

  8. Split screen is a better option than full screen commercials but…..the fans are tired and very annoyed at having commercials crammed down their throats after almost every play !…It has greatly reduced my interest in watching a full NFL game this year and I usually watch highlights and get scores after games ! I watch 20 percent of the games I did last year and commercials is a big part of the reason ! I have been a rabid NFL fan for 55 years but am losing interest for a multitude of reasons, all pertaining to what the NFL is doing on the field today !

  9. I’d rather the unis and the field look like nascar cars plastered with ads and there be minimal commercials. Nobody watches the commercials anyway. Dvr

  10. ESPN needs to put the glitz back on the shelf and get back to the fundamentals. For example, they completely missed the missed Matt Prater FG in real time, which was a critical play at that point in the game. There were other production whiffs in the broadcast too but that one really stood out.

  11. I may be cynical, but I believe the endgame with split-screen ads is ads that run nonstop throughout the broadcast, with game action shown simultaneously via a box. Instead of making existing commercial blocks less intrusive, i’d bet the idea is to increase revenue by creating a way to fill airtime with ads 24/7. Seems like a Trojan horse. Corporations don’t do ANYTHING unless increased profits are in the offing

  12. “included 12 adults and 8 children, that none were impressed”
    ________

    20 people over for Christmas and you polled everybody aout this, including the children? Fun party you were having, lol.

  13. Soooo much whining about commercials. You people do realize these are solely responsible for you being able to watch these games, for free, from the comfort of your living room right. Be thankful because without them you would have no games to watch or have to pay through the nose for PPV like boxing.

  14. Well received according to what source?

    All this weekend’s stretched out schedule did was remind me why I only watch Red Zone now. No commercials or windbags in the booth trying to fill time.

  15. That would be the time I turned the game off. They’re just trying to squeeze more commercials in. If they had their way I’m sure you would see the play and split screens commercials the rest of the time.

  16. I found the split-screen commercial a bit jarring. The difference between this and the auto racing example is that auto racing does not stop the action so a split screen makes sense there. Here the play was stopped and the feeling I had was that it was an extra commercial, not one that would have otherwise aired normally.

    As for in-game commercials, Canadian TV networks have already tried this. It is as bad as you might expect.

  17. The 50/50 commercial was well received?

    Speak for yourself. Thankfully I have a dvr box and can record the game, start watching about 20 minutes after the game starts, then FF through all the commercials till halftime. Then do it again. I typically wind up live around the 2 minute warning.

  18. The Nostradamus like movie called “Idiocracy” is unfolding before our very eyes people. Except instead of Costco it’s called Amazon. If you haven’t seen this extremely stoopid but entertaining movie then you’d best get it TODAY!

  19. ESPN stinks. From the female analyst who predicted a low scoring close game, to the producer that completely chose the wrong camera and missed the failed field goal attempt, and the commercial break with the clock ticking a few seconds before the two minute warning just to get another commercial break after returning and having the clock restarted. It seemed like a bunch of rookies running the show.

  20. autumnwind999 says:
    Dec 27, 2016 9:57 AM
    Soooo much whining about commercials. You people do realize these are solely responsible for you being able to watch these games, for free, from the comfort of your living room right. Be thankful because without them you would have no games to watch or have to pay through the nose for PPV like boxing.

    **************************************************

    I find it amazing that this poster said that we get to watch those games “for free”. My cable bill is almost $125 a month, so don’t talk to me about “for free”.

    Now, if you have an antenna on top of your house, you aren’t getting it AT ALL. It’s ESPN!!

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