NBCUniversal plans to slash 20% of primetime ads by 2020

NBCUniversal is moving away from traditional primetime advertising

NBCUniversal is moving away from traditional TV advertising as it plans to cut primetime commercials by 20% over the next year.

Last year, NBCU committed to reduce ad load and clutter by 10%. The reduction in commercial time will double by 2020, and NBCU is readying to make further cuts in new programs and other dayparts, like the Today Show.

“In an effort to bring audiences a better viewing experience and provide marketers more engaging advertising opportunities, NBCUniversal has been committed to reducing commercial time and creating new storytelling solutions since 2017. The journey continues. By 2020, NBCU will have reduced video ad load and ad clutter, each by more than 20% percent within Primetime,” said an NBCU spokesperson.

To financially supplement that better viewing experience, NBCU will expand its "prime pod" offerings and push further into digital by scaling up its AI-powered targeting solution.

Prime pods are exclusive, 60-second slots sold at a higher cost and shown at either the beginning or end of primetime programming.

"Innovations in premium advertising — from new ad formats, reduced ad loads, AI targeting solutions, automated systems to new measurement — are enhancing the viewing experience and helping more marketers tell better stories to build stronger brands. And this is just the beginning," said Linda Yaccarino, NBCU chairman of advertising and partnerships.

"As premium advertising becomes smarter, more accessible and more effective, newer companies can finally move beyond limited point-and-click interactions to showcase their products on the national stage and forge meaningful connections with customers."

According to an NBCU spokesperson, digital and advanced advertising accounts for more than $1bn in advertiser spend, and the company will look to double its investments in technology to build smarter systems, scale AI targeting options, enhance automation and optimization efforts.

In November, NBCU cut 50 ad division roles.

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