Fox Offers Viewers Choice: Watch Traditional Commercials, Or Watch Just One Ad

"Do you mind? I'm watching my shows here."  (Vincent Verdult

“Do you mind? They’re poaching the salmon right now.” (Vincent Verdult

If you had the choice to watch just one commercial before a program begins, then watch the rest uninterrupted, would you consider it? Fox is beginning an experiment with that idea this week. Viewers of Gordon Ramsay’s kiddie cooking contest, MasterChef Junior, will have the choice to watch one minute-long interactive ad before the show begins, or regular old ad breaks during the program.

The catch, of course, is that this doesn’t work on your old-fashioned TV. It will only apply to people who stream the show on Fox’s website. The ad chosen to test this idea during is for the California Dairy Board, and lets viewers click on various foods that contain dairy products.

Cooking shows and ads for food go together nicely, but the new interactive ad idea is about more than that. Media companies and advertisers know that shoving more and more ad in front of customers isn’t a long-term plan to make more money, especially online. “Advertising can’t be a volume game,” Fox’s president of advanced ad products told a reporter for the network’s former corporate sibling, the Wall Street Journal.Selling more ads doesn’t mean more revenue if viewers find a way to ignore them.

Instead of beaming ten minutes of ads at viewers, this experiment will only show a minute’s worth and ensure that viewers are paying attention by making them click on grilled cheese sandwiches. Aims to Conquer Ad Avoidance With ‘MasterChef Junior’ Experiment [Wall Street Journal]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.