Fox Cable Networks has teamed up with credit card giant Visa to test the potential of running ads in previously commercial-free video-on-demand content.

A trial due for January will see The National Geographic Channel, Fox Cable's union with the National Geographic Society's TV unit, air a show that will include either a 60 second Visa ad at the beginning and end, or intermittent Visa commercials all the way through.

Says Steve Schiffman evp for marketing and new media at the National Geographic Channel: "Part of the test, candidly, is for Visa and for us to get a read of what is an appropriate way to offer a commercial approach within video-on-demand."

Says Michael Wolf, global head of the media and entertainment practice at McKinsey: "From an advertiser's perspective, what makes this an incredibly attractive advertising vehicle is that you know the consumer actually selected the program. And especially if there are fewer ads, even if fewer people are watching, those impressions can be much more valuable."

Quite how the inclusion of ads in previously ad-free broadcasts will go down with US audiences is unclear, and viewers will be directed to a website and invited to answer questions on the featured endorsements.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC