New York Times, 3/21/07
And Now, a Commercial Break That Doesn’t Seem Like One

ABC is considering changes in the decades-old way it interrupts programs for commercial breaks. The goal is to encourage viewers to stick around rather than reaching for the remote or racing to the refrigerator.

At a meeting scheduled for today in Burbank, Calif., ABC, part of the Walt Disney Company, will show several ideas to executives from media agencies gathered for the network’s annual spring development meeting. The meeting offers ABC a chance to share program concepts that are being considered for the 2007-8 season.

Along with the program proposals will be suggestions for what Michael Shaw, president for sales and marketing at the ABC Television Network unit of ABC, called “ways to hold the audiences the best we can” during commercial pods, which is the term for the series of spots that runs during a break.

“We want to bring the audiences right to the commercial so they don’t feel they’ve gone into the commercial,” Mr. Shaw said after a panel discussion at an industry conference yesterday.

“The more commercials are being seen,” he added, “the more value you are to advertisers.”
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