NEW YORK: YouTube and Facebook have been trying out six-second ads for some time, but now the Fox TV network is poised to launch its first use of the format during National Football League (NFL) games this autumn.

NFL fans will be able to watch the short, snappy ads for the first time on Fox Sports on 10th September, although traditional 15-second and 30-second spots will be broadcast too.

According to the New York Times, Fox aims to make six-second ads an industry standard across broadcast networks amid evidence that mobile devices are shortening consumers’ attention spans and their tolerance of longer ads.

“When the six-second ads are placed in unique positions, it has the potential to gain even more attention than a traditional unit,” explained Eric Shanks, President of Fox Sports.

The idea is for some six-second ads to be shown on split screens, while others will be shown during natural lulls in the sporting action.

“So, for example, if a pitching coach comes to the mound just to have a conversation and you know that conversation is going to last 30 seconds, is a six-second unit in there going to add to the experience and then be able to decrease the amount of ad inventory somewhere else?” Shanks said.

Fox also plans to roll out the initiative to other sports, such as Major League Baseball, and it follows successful testing of the shortened ad format during its broadcast of the Teen Choice Awards in mid-August.

People familiar with Fox’s negotiations with advertisers at that time told the New York Times that the broadcaster was able to charge about as much for the six-second spots as it could for 15-second ads.

They said Fox also managed to maintain a premium for the shorter spots by linking them to lucrative placements, such as just before the kick-off of an NFL game, and when combined into a bundled package, a six-second spot could cost around $200,000.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff