NBCU plans cable movie nights with heavily reduced ad loads

The movie night announcement bookends a week in which NBCUniversal pledges to give viewers more content and ad innovations with less commercial time. (Warner Bros.)

NBCUniversal will begin airing “Stay-In Theater” family movie nights with heavily reduced ad loads across its cable channels.

The first one is Friday, April 10 and it will feature “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” simulcast at 7 p.m. across USA, Syfy and E! The broadcast is being sponsored by Target and will have its national TV ad load cut back from the average 35 minutes to 1 minute and 15 seconds. NBCU said it will also repurpose about 7 minutes of promo time to show behind-the-scenes content related to the movie. The broadcast will still include about six minutes of local ad time.

NBCU will repeat the process several times throughout April on the above-mentioned channels as well as Telemundo with Spanish-language broadcasts;

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  • Saturday, April 11 at 7 p.m.: “Kung Fu Panda 2” on Telemundo
  • Friday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m.: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” across USA, SYFY, and E!
  • Saturday, April 18 at 7 p.m.: “Zootopia” on Telemundo
  • Friday, April 24 at 7 p.m.: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” across USA, SYFY, and E!
  • Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m.: “Max” on Telemundo

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NBCUniversal has done broadcasts with limited commercials on single networks before but this kind of simulcast with reduced ad loads across cable and Telemundo is less common.

The movie night announcement bookends a week in which NBCUniversal pledged to give viewers more content and ad innovations with less commercial time.

NBCU also said that it will work on scaling its new advertising and commerce technologies while waiving fees, open up more creative services for clients, and offer free editing and translation services for brands looking to reach audiences in both English and Spanish.

“…With many brick and mortar stores closed around the country and other companies facing significant challenges, our clients need more support to grow their businesses and remain connected to customers,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, in a statement.

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