Cannes Lions

Fox Follows YouTube Into Six-Second Commercials

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Taraji P. Henson in Fox's 'Empire.'
Taraji P. Henson in Fox's 'Empire.' Credit: Chuck Hodes/Fox

Fox Networks Group is following YouTube's lead in rolling out six-second ads.

The media giant, whose TV channels include FX and the Fox broadcast network, announced at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that six-second ads will roll out across its digital and on-demand properties, where they will be unskippable, as they are on YouTube.

Fox plans to bring the short ads to linear TV as well, Fox said.

Six-second commercials aren't likely to become common on TV any time soon, though, not least because sellers and buyers need to agree on prices that make it fruitful for the networks but also not high enough that they are unattractive to advertisers.

There's a similar problem when it comes to networks' efforts to reduce commercials loads. While sellers argue that less clutter will create better brand awareness and consumer recall, there's no evidence yet that it's worth a higher price than apearing in traditional ad loads.

The move comes as Fox, along with other TV network groups, work to figure out ways to improve their viewer experience as people continue to shift their viewing to platforms with limited or no commercials.

Fox will build the digital and on-demand ads internally and bill advertisers for viewable impressions as determined by Moat.

"One of our biggest priorities at Fox Networks Group is figuring out the best way for a brand to reach a consumer that captures the right kind of attention and serves its precise KPIs," David Levy, exec VP-non-linear revenue, Fox Networks Group, said in a statement.

YouTube introduced the six-second ad format last year.

"Since we piloted this format last fall, we've seen on YouTube that six seconds is both long enough and short enough -- it's great for on-the-go users who appreciate the succinct message, for creatives who appreciate the constraint, and for brands who value the consistent results," Tara Walpert Levy, VP-agency and media solutions, YouTube, said in the statement.

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