‘Saturday Night Live’ Cuts Commercials by 30 Percent, Adds More Sponsored Sketches

The SNL stage on display during a media preview on May 29, 2015 at the Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition, celebrating the NBC programs 40-year history. The exhibit, which opens May 30, will illustrate a week in the life of SNL's offices and studios in 30 Rockefeller Center - complete …
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NBC’s Saturday Night Live is cutting down on commercials for its upcoming forty-second season, and will feature more sponsored content from advertisers who will partner with the show for “branded sketches,” according to Deadline.

Amid several years of stagnant ratings, the network announced Monday it would reduce the overall number of commercials by about 30 percent, or two commercial breaks per 90-minute SNL episode.

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

Deadline reports in addition to adding more program content, SNL will add more original advertiser-sponsored content. The breaks, which the show generally uses to prepare in between skits, will likely be replaced with more pre-recorded segments.

SNL first experimented with branded content in 2009, when Pepsi sponsored three sketches for recurring Macgyver parody sketch MacGruber, according to The Daily Mail.

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Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships for NBCUniversal, said in a statement obtained by Deadline: “Since 1975, SNL has shaped and driven conversation. We are excited to try something new and unique that will shape and drive advertiser content too … By partnering together, advertisers can capture an audience that only SNL can deliver.”

As A.V. Club notes, conventional commercial breaks have become increasingly inconvenient in the age of streaming. The popularity of Netflix, which offers instant and interruption free programming, has expanded. TV subscribers with DVR service also have the option of pausing their programming and then skipping past commercial breaks.

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