Rantings and Ramblings

TV networks stuff in more commercials despite vows to cut back

There is no question that network and cable broadcast networks are showing more commercials than ever before. This is translating to consumers opting out of these and going to streaming services.

The number of commercials in the typical hour of television has grown steadily during the last five years, according to a new study from the ratings measurement firm Nielsen.

The rise in commercials can be attributed to two factors: Broadcast and cable networks are allotting more time for commercials, and advertisers are increasingly using shorter spots to hawk their products.

In the USA, the average amount of commercial time is a little over 1/4 of the air time. So for a 60-minute show, there would (on average) be a little over 15 minutes of commercials. This will vary by show, by network, and by episode, and this only applies to first-run episodes. Syndicated reruns usually have parts of the show edited out to allow for more commercials.

The growth has been even more significant on cable television. In 2009, cable networks averaged 14 minutes and 27 seconds per hour. Last year, the average was 15 minutes and 38 seconds.

There are four station breaks in an hour. At the top of the hour, the 15 minute, the half hour and the 45. You asked how many commercials not how many minutes of programming, right? That really depends on how many advertisers have purchased inventory and how many spots the television station has to fill with station promos or non-profit spots. And of those (local, regional, national) paid commercials, promos, or non-profit free spots - if they’re :15 second, :30 second, or :60 second spots. The amount of commercials can vary.

What's more, it is the same commercials over and over. Sometimes, in a row. From automobile brands to prescription or OTC drugs to injury lawyers. Enough already!

If the networks continue with this trend, there will be no more viewers or consumers because they will drive them off to other alternatives.

While I am on the subjectt, I have another gripe. Local TV stations must fill their schedules most of the day with syndicated shows before the networks kick in their prime time shedules. So local stations run reruns of shows like Hogan's Hereos, Green Acres, and Two and a Half Men. Cable and OTA networks like TV Land and ME TV live on this diet of reruns. But here in lies my gripe. They show the same episodes over and over. For example, there were 168 episodes Hogan's Hereos, yet every week day night, ME TV shows the same 20 or so episodes. You can catch Two and a Half Men almost every day on different channels. There were 262 episodes of Two and a Half Men and yet again it is the same tiresome episodes over and over. The trend continues with 251 episodes of M.A.S.H and 249 episodes Andy Griffith show. And here is the big kicker! In August 2017, Sheindlin, 76, sold her entire 10,400 "Judge Judy" episodes to CBS. Yet it is just a handful that we see over and over.

And everyone is wondering why people are opting for streaming services.

A side note to TV commercials, the two most disgusting commercials are for hotels.com with a white man sitting on a toilet with his pants down with a clear indication what he is in the act of doing, with an Indian looking woman next to him in a bath tub and Captain Obvious toting the benefits of hotels.com. The other commercial that insults me is the one for Direct Auto that is using two big losers, Johnny Manziel and Tonya Harding as spokesmans. It just tells me that Direct Auto is a loser.

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Mike Holeman |