Television Ads Are Taking Over Our TV Hours

by on August 24, 2010

in Entertainment


Our TV Time is Running Out

Cinema Static on Brusimm - TV and Movie Stuff, Weeding through the Static

I remember the good old days when we’d get 46 or 45 minutes of TV program time per hour and the ads would take up the rest of the hour. In the 60’s, TV viewers had 51 minutes of programming per hour, the rest were television commercials. Today, it’s 42 minutes of programming, while 30-minute programming consists of 22 minutes of show. Some networks screw you even further out of your time and only run 18 minutes of programing in a 30-minute slot with ads filling the rest!

But ads during our TV shows pay the bills so the show gets made. It’s a necessary evil that we can’t get away from, even if they are WAY TOO LOUD and become too frequent.

And ads aren’t restricted to TV. We see ads everywhere we go, even this website, though I’d rather get paid to write, this is how I’m achieving that goal at the moment… when you visit via my links where I get a tiny percentage of the purchase price when you buy something there. (Via my link. Nudge, nudge.)

And ads are getting more insidious. They exist at the bottom of the TV screen now, where sometimes they confuse or ruin the ambiance of the moment in the show.

So even though we’re getting pummeled by 18 minutes of television commercials per hour, we’re also getting pummeled by over 10 minutes of in-show brand advertisements per hour. For example, when you can clearly see that huge and bright Apple symbol on computers, or can easily identify a product in something you’re watching… that’s not something that just happens, that’s contractual obligations to demonstrate the product to you, the viewer/consumer. When all is said and done, we’re literally being exposed to almost 30 minutes of advertising an hour. All this advertising time actually increase and went up 5% from ’08 to ’09 to boot.

And now they are even starting to use characters from the TV show to push products in commercials… sometimes making the ads a part of the show, or making them look like it.

Did You Know?:

Movie MarketingOn average, American television audiences watch 250 billion hours of TV a year and that we’ll be exposed to over 2 million TV ads by the time we’re 65-years-old?

Heck, for the 2010-11 TV season, advertisers dropped an estimated $8 billion on the primary networks. Just for one season. In NASCAR, the logo’s on the hood of the race car used to cost $10 million a year for that kind of exposure. (Yep, I’m talking per car.) The reason advertisers do this is because regardless of how annoying it seems, advertising works. All advertising works or it wouldn’t exist as it does, permeating our lives.

Some ad campaigns even have recurring characters and some ads have recurring and continuing story lines.

  • “Can you hear me now?”
  • Flo, from the insurance ads, who’s part is so silly that it’s cute.
  • Mr. Whipple from 1965,
  • “Where’s the beef?”
  • The Budweiser frogs were fun, until people became scared of their own parenting skills and sued to have the frogs removed in case they influenced their kids.
  • The Taco Bell Dog
  • The Aflac Duck…
  • M & M’s candies are pretty funny for me.
  • The Geico Cavemen… who should never have even tried being in their own sitcom. They’re really only funny for 30 seconds at a time.
  • The Capital One Vikings have a great thing going on right now.
  • The Coke polar bears are an iconic symbol.

The list can go on and on.

At this point, I’m starting to wonder when ads will take over as the primary programming in the hour? When will it happen when the hour-long program will take up 18 minutes of the hour? Why waste money on known and expensive actors when you can just inject unknowns into the equation and have them carry on some recurring theme or continuing story while pumping out the ad?

As it is, we even glorify ads with shows that recant some of the funniest ads out there. And then they play ads during the ad show, with streamlined ads in-screen. That really sounds like a serious win-win scenario. Heck, even my writing about them just gave them exposure! Crap!!!

Eh, I would not be surprised if I saw ads become TV series one day. I mean one that might work, as opposed to that dreadful attempt at making the Geico cavemen into a sitcom. I think the Aflac duck could be fun… but then again, maybe they’re all fun because they only last a few seconds then get out of our faces.

That’s my rant for the day… today. For now… maybe. Thanks for coming by!

[Wikipedia,, MediaBuzz, Telewatcher]

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou November 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

These are the good old days. 40 years from now all you will see on TV will be commercials and you will be lucky in a 20 year period to get 10 minutes of programming in a one hour show and 50 minutes of commercials. And you will be lucky to get 5 minutes of programming in a 30 minute show and 25 minutes of commercials. The world will be so hungry more money to advertise TV will be nothing but advertisements. Then in 40 years like I said it will be nothing but commercials on TV and there will be no more programming at all.

Right now this is the good old days that will be someday gone one hour shows you get 42 minutes of programming and 18 minutes of commercials and half hour shows you get 22 minutes and 8 minutes of commercials. Commercials is going to get longer as time goes on until there is nothing to watch but Commercials. You wont be able to watch your own DVD or Blu Ray movies because they are going to wire all video players to the online internet so commercials can cut in. It’s all about money, and the FCC.

Byron Gudmestad September 2, 2013 at 8:57 am

I went one step farther and measured commercials AND Rehash (replay, analysis or review of already viewed portions of the show) before continuing the show. It came up to 50 % of actual new show -vs- commercials and rehash. Rehash is really starting to irritate me now as the shows needs even less actual content when they repeatedly go over what has been already been seen. 50 PERCENT!!!! We’re already there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bruce Simmons November 14, 2011 at 8:27 pm

The Crystal Geyser ads are my latest angst because they play in pairs! It’s insidious. And yes, funny how subscription services are riddled with ads! Funny how that worked out. Grr.

Bruce Hedlund November 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I remember when cable tv came out, and we were all happy because supposedly there would be LESS commercial time because they were getting our money up front. My least favorite commercial is the “double up”, used mostly by news programs. They run full ads, then the commentator makes a tease statement and then “we’ll right back after this short break”, and another set of ads are run. I have taken action. I mute ALL ads, even the good ones. I don’t let the remote to get very far away from me. My least favorite commercial is the one with Flo, the ditsy insurance woman.

charles k December 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm

The part about commercials that I honestly can’t stand the most, the fact that we pay so much to watch TV! So basically I am paying an enormous fee to watch 20 minutes (I believe thats more on some stations) of commercials? Thats just awesome! Go team, let me know when we are at 50% of the time

Bruce Simmons August 25, 2010 at 11:54 am

I just started catching on to that last night. (I admit, I was paying more attention last night than other nights!)

sebastian August 25, 2010 at 11:50 am

That Warehouse 13/Twizzler alliance is one of the most jarring product placements I’ve ever seen.

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