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'Saturday Night Live' Announces Plan To Cut Ads In Favor Of Branded Content

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Presidential races are good for lots of industries including comedy. And just in time for this year's general election, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" is making some more room for satire.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's getting rid of two commercial breaks in each show. Instead, it will air segments that, in the advertising business, are known as branded content. So what does that mean?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Are you looking for the perfect gift for mom this Mother's Day? Introducing Mom Jeans, exclusively at JCPenney.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) Mom Jeans, Mom Jeans.

MCEVERS: No, it's not the "Saturday Night Live" ad spoofs that have been around for years. And Advertising Age reporter Jeanine Poggi says it's not like in some shows you might have seen where all the actors drive the same car or drink the same drink.

JEANINE POGGI: It seems like it's going to be much more natural than - here is a Coca-Cola bottle sitting, you know, on a desk. It will be more co-branded so "SNL" and the brand will work together to, perhaps, come up with a skit talking about a particular product. Or it could be as simple as just - this is brought to you by this brand.

CORNISH: Poggi says it's a logical move for "Saturday Night Live," which has had to keep up with changing viewer expectations in the era of on-demand TV.

POGGI: And I think that's just, like, the Netflix effect. You know, you go onto Netflix, and you're able to binge watch all of these shows and don't have any interruptions. And people are craving that in their TV experience also.

MCEVERS: She expects "SNL" won't lose money with this change. There'll be just six branded segments next season, so they'll come at a premium.

CORNISH: And she doesn't think it will backfire for fans. Shows like the old "Colbert Report" have paved the way forward.

POGGI: They've done it, and they've done it successfully. And I think that people understand and are in on the joke. And they like to play along.

CORNISH: NBC says if branded content works on "Saturday Night Live," we'll start seeing more of them in during the network's primetime shows. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.