FOX is aiming to pull in the younger fans when SmackDown debuts on its network. One way it might try to do that is by cutting the number of commercial breaks during the show.
We're not sure when exactly it happened, but at some point in wrestling history, WWE started to riddle its TV shows with ad breaks. We understand that there needs to be advertising on any TV show to help pay for it, its the frequency and the placement of those breaks on Raw and SmackDown that drives us crazy.
If you DVR the shows and fast forward through the ads, you'll know exactly how much of your life is being taken up by them when you watch live. We're sure that some weeks, one of Raw's three hours is taken up entirely by ad breaks. Plus, those ad breaks usually take place in the middle of matches which makes them even more annoying.
Now for the good news. According to AdAge, FOX is aiming to cut back on the ads shown during SmackDown by 10-20%. Its reason for doing this is an attempt to try and capture the attention of the younger fan. It's no secret that younger viewers have an incredibly short attention span. One too many ad breaks during a show and a teenager might look at their phone and not look back up at the TV screen for the rest of the show.
FOX and WWE's attempts to recapture that 18-34 demographic will not extend to a return to TV-14 programming, however. WWE EVP John Brody revealed that in the space of the past decade, the company's sponsorships have quadrupled. That's largely in part to WWE being able to honestly advertise that its product is family-friendly.
Although we would have liked to see a little more edge from SmackDown when it moves to FOX, we understand why that can't happen. If the consolation prize is fewer ad breaks than we will definitely take it. Rumor has it the picture-in-picture ad breaks are also a thing of the past now that SmackDown has left USA. We're also happy about that as they are effectively as annoying as a regular break.