Saturday Night Live Commercial Time

Good news, Saturday Night Live fans! We’re about to get more time for sketches to air on NBC when the show returns for its 42nd season this fall. The peacock network will be go lighter on¬†commercial time during each new episode of Saturday Night Live¬†next season, in addition to introducing a new form of advertising that will integrate sketches with sponsors.

Get more details on how Saturday Night Live commercial time will be cut after the jump.

Ad Age reports NBC will be cutting 30% of the ads that usually air during Saturday Night Live to make way for more content in the show. More specifically, they’ll be cutting two commercial breaks per episode. An average half-hour of television has about seven to eight minutes of commercials spread across two or three commercial breaks. So we should be getting roughly five to six minutes of time back for SNL, which is enough for a couple sketches.

However, there’s the opportunity for even more sketches to hit the air with NBC’s offer to advertisers to work with SNL to create original branded content that can be integrated into the show. They’re called native pods and according to Linda Yaccarino, chairman-advertising sales and client partnership at NBC Universal, they would only happen six times a year.

There’s a chance you don’t know what native pods are, but if you watched SNL in January of 2009, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen them. During the January 31st episode of SNL that year, there were three MacGruber sketches with Will Forte and Kristen Wiig that also served as advertisements for Pepsi, featuring MacGyver star Richard Dean Anderson as a guest star. Here’s what we’re talking about:

One can’t help but notice how stupid it is that in order to watch the above sketch, which doubles as an advertisement for Pepsi, that you have to watch another advertisement. What a time to be alive.

Anyway, this is the kind of content that SNL viewers will start to see six times a year. This MacGruber sketch actually isn’t so bad because it allows for brand reinforcement while still delivering some solid sketch comedy. There’s no guarantee that the advertisements will always be as good as this, especially since some advertisers will likely want to stray from being more edgy, but if it allows some more air time for a couple more sketches during the rest of the season, then that sounds fine to me. And Lorne Michaels feels the same way:

As the decades have gone by, commercial time has grown. This will give time back to the show and make it easier to watch the show live.

This appears to be a move to make watching television more appealing at a time when Netflix, which doesn’t have any commercials, is stealing viewers away from cable and network television. If this works out, you can expect more advertising efforts like this in the future, though it might be a little harder for other programs to make work without feeling intrusive.

What do you think of this new advertising approach?

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