As the human attention span shortens, so do the efforts to capture it.
For NFL games on FOX this season, the network will debut six-second commercials. They’ll be used along with the more traditional 15-second and 30-second spots.
“When the six-second ads are placed in unique positions, it has the potential to gain even more attention than a traditional unit,” FOX Sports president Eric Shanks told Sapna Mahewshwari of the New York Times.
The spots also will be used by FOX during the World Series and other big events. In some cases, the commercials will be shown on a split-screen basis. The goal will be to find natural lulls for insertion of the six-second unit.
“[F]or example, if a pitching coach comes to the mound just to have a conversation and you know that conversation is going to last 30 seconds, is a six-second unit in there going to add to the experience and then be able to decrease the amount of ad inventory somewhere else?” Shanks said.
As applied to NFL games, this could happen when officials are huddling to determine a ruling on the field, and during the replay review process. It also could happen during short time outs taken by a team not to regroup but to simply stop the clock.
This effort by FOX is separate and apart from the league’s desire to trim fat from broadcasts and to shorten commercial breaks. If the shorter commercials work for FOX, other networks undoubtedly will try them.