T-Mobile Buys Into Fox’s New Advertising JAZ

Fox introduced its new JAZ pods Sunday night as part of its effort to reduce commercial clutter and phone company T-Mobile bought the tune.

Fox touted two-spot JAZ pods--as in Just the “A” and “Z” positions--during the upfront as its approach to improving the consumer experience with commercial television by reducing the amount of ads during shows.

It was unclear how much more commercials that are part of the new JAZ pods cost compared to the price of spot in normal pods last year. Fox expects that with fewer commercials in the pod advertisers will get more bang for their buck in terms of attention, recall and ultimately sales.

Related: NBC Plans to Cut Ads by 10% in Primetime

NBCUniversal earlier this season unveiled its Prime Pod, which also feature just two spots per commercial break. NBCU is running the Prime Pods in the most popular shows across all of its networks including during the premiere of its hit This Is Us.

Fox consumers get the faster-commercial-break message through a small countdown clock that runs in the corner of the screen. One thing Fox didn’t tout when promoting its JAZ blocks is that they also contain promos for Fox programming in the middle of each block.

Fox didn’t add more time to the shows, so each hour also has what the network calls Fox Blocks of branded content.

Directly before Sunday night’s episode of The Simpsons, Fox aired a spot for T-Mobile with a 30-second countdown clock.

About nine minutes into The Simpsons, the first JAZ pod aired. The countdown clock started at 80 seconds, A 30-second spot for Wendy’s was followed by promos for Fox shows The Cool Kids and Family Guy. The pod ended with a spot for Samsung.

About 17 minutes into the show, a longer commercial block aired with network promos and local spots. There was no countdown clock during this break.

Later just before the end of The Simpsons, another JAZ pod aired with spots from Amazon and T-Mobile.

The Simpsons ended early, at 8:28 ET, followed by Bob’s Burgers.

In similar fashion, Bob’s Burgers had two JAZ pods and a normal commercial break. The advertisers in the first JAZ pod were M&Ms and T-Mobile and in the second one were spots from T-Mobile and Amazon. There were promos for Fox shows and the Major League Baseball playoffs in the middle of those JAZ pods.

Bob’s Burgers ended at 8:54 p.m. followed by an ad for Duracell that featured a 30 second countdown clock.

The a Fox block from Hulu, partly owned by Fox, followed. The block featured a long spot for Hulu, a promo for Hulu’s upcoming horror anthology Into the Dark, and a preview of “The Body" episode of Into the Dark introduced by producer Jason Blum.

A Verizon ad with a 30-second countdown clock aired before the start of Family Guy.

Fox said it would also be running JAZ pods and Fox Blocks on Sunday Oct. 21 and Nov 11.

As a result of the new format, Fox said it is reducing the commercial time in these shows by 50%.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.