No joke: SNL is cutting down on ads, with a catch

SNL will replace some traditional ads with native ones and sponsored programming

NBC is looking to cut up to 30% of ads played during its popular Saturday Night Live show by removing two commercial breaks. This is great news for fans who've had to resort to watching YouTube videos of skits cut for time.

"As the decades have gone by, commercial time has grown. This will give time back to the show and make it easier to watch the show live," said SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels.

Fans of SNL bemoaned the shortened show time due to too many ad breaks. NBC hopes to restore some lost time by removing ads as well as experimenting with more integrated ads like sponsored programming.

For example, NBC partnered with American Express on Leap Day to give viewers an extra 18 minutes of content with sponsored programming during "Blindspot," "The Voice," and "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

Moving to branded content

In addition to branded content, NBC is offering its ad partners an opportunity to create original branded content for SNL. The catch for ad partners is that NBC will only be offering native ads on SNL six times per year.

Plans for reducing ads aren't just limited to SNL. NBC plans on experimenting with cutting ads for other shows on a weekly basis, citing a younger audience that expects a more seamless watching experience.

NBC's move to more integrated ads isn't surprising, as ad blocking has become a huge problem for media companies. Microsoft's Edge browser has an ad blocker built in and Apple began allowing ad blocking extensions in iOS last year. Native ads and sponsored programming can't be blocked since they're integrated into the content viewers came to watch.

Now, if NBC could get Hulu to stop showing me the same ad over (and over) again, that'd be great.

Source: Ad Age