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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 8:43 EDT

Philips giving ’60 Minutes’ more airtime

October 19, 2005

By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – One advertiser has bought
the entire commercial inventory of “60 Minutes” for Sunday,
giving the magazine show more time for stories as it runs about
half as many commercials.

It’s the first time in the program’s 37-year history that
one advertiser has sponsored the entire show; Dutch electronics
maker Royal Philips Electronics is using its ad buy as a way to
get its brand campaign in a clutterless environment.

On Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” the first two stories will run
without commercials, separated by about six seconds of the
trademark stopwatch, said executive producer Jeff Fager. The
national commercial load will be reduced by half. That, along
with some promotional time returned to “60 Minutes,” gives the
show about seven extra minutes.

“We have a lot of good material in the mix,” Fager said
Wednesday. “I think when people tune in Sunday night, they’ll
see something special.”

There will still be two local-station breaks, one in the
middle of the show and one near the end.

“It’s a neat way of presenting the best newsmagazine out
there,” Chris Simon, executive vp primetime sales at CBS, said.
Philips and Carat, Philips’ media-buying agency, was drawn by
the opportunity to be on such a quality program and in a
less-cluttered environment, Carat’s Andy Donchin said.

The idea came up in a brainstorming session in June, after
the network upfront presentations, between CBS, Philips and
Carat. Single sponsorships have been done on Fox with the
season premiere of “24″ and on FX’s “Nip/Tuck.” It’s also been
done on CBS with a Bruce Springsteen concert a few years ago
and the “9/11″ documentary.

Sunday’s stories include an interview with basketball’s
Michael Jordan, a profile of a U.S. soldier who deserted to
North Korea and was held captive for 40 years and a story about
musical savants.

“I think they’re stronger by being longer,” Fager said of
the stories.

Fager had one concern from the beginning: that “60 Minutes”
not be for sale and remain independent, no matter who was
footing the bill. Philips execs set his mind at ease, saying
they wanted the show to just do what it does best: tell
stories.

“That’s a dream come true,” Fager said of Philips’
response. Carat’s Donchin agreed, saying, “There’s definitely a
line between church and state.”

Philips could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter