NBC has decided that during the next season, SNL is going to show fewer commercials than they have before. The 42nd year of the sketch show will lose two ad breaks in comparison with the current season, according to Ad Age. Legendary producer Lorne Michaels said that he was going to fill that time with new sketches that will make it "easier to watch the show live."
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In order to make up for that loss in revenue, the channel will allow six companies to create "branded original content" that will use SNL's writers and performers.
It wasn't established why exactly Saturday Night Live is doing this, nor why it is rumored that other shows will be doing the same thing. However, many people assume that it is because so many millennials (who will keep watching the show) aren't watching shows live, because they are able to skip commercials otherwise. It is also why people watch the best sketches on YouTube the next day, where they only have to watch one commercial.
Also, many more people are tuning into Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, all of which have shorter ad breaks than traditional television does.
Around 6.5 million people watch SNL during its traditional broadcasts on Saturday nights. Another 2.2 million people watch on the YouTube page. A sketch that goes viral gets many more times that, especially those of a political or popular culture angle.
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Time will tell what other shows might go down this same pathway in the future. It might be something for late night shows that have similar problems with live viewership.