We've seen this technology used some since SmackDown went live on USA but apparently it will be a regular feature going forward, beginning later this month or in early June. When the show goes to commercial, the sound on the in-ring action goes down but viewers are still able to see what's happening while the commercial plays with sound and motion.
When testing picture-in-picture on SmackDown in the past, they found that ratings went up 13% during those commercial breaks. That lift raised the C3 ratings for the whole show by almost 2%. The test also had good results for advertisers.
NBCU will be using the same technology during the 2018 Winter Olympics. NBCU Executive Vice President of Network Partnerships Josh Feldman commented:
"We want to improve the viewing experience for fans with marketing and advertising, versus just having marketing advertising be part of the viewing experience. Picture-in-picture improves the viewing experience. That's the mission of what we're trying to do here."
NBCU Executive Vice President of Ad Sales Mark Marshall noted that WWE has "a huge fan base that not only watches it live, but also watches the commercials and pays attention to the commercials. That's part of what we're trying to build and part of the reason why we're doing picture in picture. With SmackDown, this provides us the chance to have an advertiser be the hero and provide that live action."
B&C also listed the top 10 spenders on WWE SmackDown, year to date:
WWE Network: $742,418
Taco Bell: $618,033
The Real Cost: $559,728
Universal Pictures: $536,406
Burger King: $396,474
Subway: $396, 474