Two months before Nielsen hopes to begin measuring the audiences for commercials, the networks are testing mini-programs and other ways to hold viewers during breaks, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Starting Monday, Fox will begin airing animated shorts about a taxi driver named Oleg during commercial breaks, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. Oleg’s job is to keep viewers from changing channels, and to do so, he’ll offer up bits of wisdom and chat with spoof versions of celebrities like Tom Cruisse or Donald Trump.
The story, written by Brian Steinberg, says that while Fox works on Oleg, ABC is pondering ways to make the transition from program content to commercial less obvious, perhaps by showing the star of one of its shows opening a magazine and having a photo from the magazine expand into an ad. And in April, NBC will use trivia questions about its hit show, Scrubs, to get viewers to sit through a commercial break, and it is also planning a test involving Tonight with Jay Leno.
CBS executives, meanwhile, say they are discussing commercial break concepts with individual clients, and don’t expect to take a cookie-cutter approach to retaining viewers during breaks. The story said that CBS expects to begin testing such concepts during non-prime dayparts.
WSJ Online subscribers may read the full story here.