Fox aims for 2 minutes of ad time per hour by 2020

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Last year, Fox experimented with six-second ads. (Fox)

Not one to be outdone, Fox is raising the stakes on NBC by claiming that it will only show two minutes of commercials per hour of television by 2020.

That’s according to The Wall Street Journal, which attended a private event at which Fox Networks Group ad sales chief Joe Marchese made the bold proclamation.

“The two minutes per hour is a real target for Fox, and also our challenge for the industry,” said Ed Davis, chief product officer for ad sales at Fox Networks Group, to the WSJ in an email.

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As the report points out, Fox would likely have to severely jack up costs for TV ad inventory in that scenario, since the current average ad time per hour is 13 minutes for broadcast and 16 minutes for cable.

RELATED: NBCUniversal to cut ad time during prime-time shows by 10%

Whether or not Fox reaches its goal, it makes NBCUniversal’s recent pledge to cut ad time during prime-time shows by 10% look conservative by comparison.

Last week, NBCU made its 10% reduction announcement along with a promise to decrease the number of advertisements in commercial pods by 20%.

“Sometimes, a little bit less means a whole lot more,” said Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising and client partnerships at NBCUniversal, in a statement. “The industry knows that television is already the most effective advertising medium there is, but we need to make the experience better for viewers. We promised some big swings last fall to move our industry forward and this is the first one. Now, NBCUniversal is advancing the TV experience as consumer behavior has evolved: lower ad loads, more innovation and more targeting.”

NBCU also plans to use artificial intelligence-based technology to make the ads it serves more contextually relevant for audiences.

Fox may have other plans on how to dramatically reduce the amount of ad time during shows and other televised events. Last year, the network experimented with six-second ads. During its broadcast of an NFL game on Thanksgiving, the network aired nine six-second ads.

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