The NFL has a ratings problem this year. Viewership across the board continues to drop week after week, with analysts pointing at everything from the election to decline in play as the source of the problem. The NFL has been dismissive of the decline so far, but now they’re changing their tune and proposing an actual solution.
Whatever the reason for the decline is, pretty much everyone agrees that there is too much advertising. On Sunday afternoons it’s not an issue, because there are multiple games to switch between. Primetime games, on the other hand, can be excruciating. The worst offender is when the broadcast cuts to a commercial break after a scoring play, returns for a kick off, then goes back to another commercial break. The NFL is finally acknowledging that they’ve gone too far, and they seem keen to finally back down.
Brian Rolapp, the NFL Media Executive VP and CEO of the NFL Network, recently admitted that the organization is “looking very hard” at changing its commercialization of broadcasts. He explained that he and his staff are currently analyzing media competitors like Netflix and Youtube, and trying to find a more modern approach to advertising.
Running up to 70 ads per game can be a turnoff, he said. “In a world where Netflix has no commercials and consumers are used to 15 seconds of of pre-roll, is there a better way to do commercials with our broadcast partners?”
Whatever solution they find, surely it’ll be better than what we’ve got now. If we’re lucky, it might not take 4 hours to watch a prime time game next season.