By Jared Newman
July 6, 2017
Fox and AMC begin tampering with traditional TV formats in response to cord cutting.
Apart from live sports and breaking news, TV broadcasters have—with some minor variations—relied on the rigid time slots of linear TV for decades. They’ve clung to this model even as more people turn to DVR and streaming services to watch TV on their own schedules.
That’s finally starting to change. A couple weeks ago, Fox announced that it would adopt a six-second ad format, beginning with its on-demand shows and eventually moving to its linear broadcast channel. And last week, AMC announced a $5-per-month streaming service that will let cable subscribers watch shows like The Walking Dead at the same time as the live broadcast, but without ads.
Those developments could be the beginning of a breakdown for linear TV as we know it. When commercial breaks become drastically shorter, or when a subset of viewers can watch new shows with no breaks at all, spacing every program into 30- or 60-minute time slots becomes obsolete.