TBS to trial full commercial loads on some online programming

Turner Broadcasting System, a Time Warner sub, is knee-deep in trying to figure out just how much advertising Internet viewers of television programs are willing to endure. TNT’s television series “The Closer,” for example, currently carries four or five spots when it’s made available on the TNT website after being broadcast. But, says a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, TBS execs now plan to shovel the full run of 20 ads onto the online offering.

How much of a commercial load viewers will accept may be one key to the success of Time Warner’s TV Everywhere, the cable companies effort to bring its programming to Internet and mobile devices.

“Our preference is to provide the consumer with more access to more content sooner than is generally available today as a reward for being a paying customer,” wrote TBS vice chairman Andy Heller, reported the J-C. “We believe that in exchange for that the consumer is willing to watch a larger commercial load than many are doing today on the Internet, just as they have demonstrated” in video-on-demand tests.

Cox Communications, the J-C reports, surveyed viewers who watched “The Office” on VOD and found most didn’t mind watching the same number of ads as had run when the show was broadcast.

On average, commercials make up about 18 minutes of every hour of television broadcast. Being able to tap into that wellspring could be a major determinant in how well TV Everywhere is received by both an Internet audience used to commercial free--or at least minimal commercial interruption--viewing of their favorite shows online, and by content providers looking for a way to make Internet viewers pay, what the CPs see, as their fair share. TV Everywhere aims to give cable subscribers access to network content on any broadband connected device through an authentication process.

For more:
- see this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article

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