- Fueled by a growing sense of desperation, networks are inserting games, quizzes and mini-dramas into commercial breaks. They're incorporating more product pitches into programming. Two experimental programs without traditional commercial breaks will premiere this fall. NBC has even called on Jerry Seinfeld for help.
This is all being done to stop viewers with DVRs from fast-forwarding through advertisements, or to circumvent those that do.
Adding to the urgency, this week Nielsen Media Research begins offering ratings for commercial breaks, instead of just the shows around them.
"We all need to become more creative in how we incorporate sponsors into a program," said Ed Swindler, executive vice president for NBC Universal ad sales. "No one on the creative side or the business side wants to make commercials intrusive, but we do need to commercialize efficiently so viewers can afford to get free television."