Yawn: Greedy Networks, Hungry Advertisers, Equal More Commercials & Less Programming

Mishael Morgan plays Hilary Curtis on "The Young & The Restless"
Mishael Morgan plays Hilary Curtis on “The Young & The Restless”


*No it is not you! There are more commercials than before on “The Young & The Restless.”


TV networks are on overload now with so many commercials inserted into programming, and 15-second spots are being used increasingly by advertisers.

According to a new study from the ratings measurement firm Nielsen, the number of commercials in a typical hour of television has grown steadily over the past five years, and the rise 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 2009, the broadcast networks averaged 13 minutes and 25 seconds of commercial time per hour.

In 2013, that figure grew to 14 minutes and 15 seconds.

There has been even more significant growth 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.

And now with the rapid decline of the 30-second commercial, not only is more time being devoted to ads, but more spots are being jammed into commercial breaks.

Using the “Young & The Restless” soap opera as an example, the number of commercials (at 15-seconds a pop) you will see are actually listed. For example, “1 out of 5” is noted … but then, on occasion, once the 5th commercial is done – the programming does not continue – we get another notice showing “1 of 4” commercials instead.

In 2009, 30-second spots accounted for 62% of all ads on television; 15-second spots were just 35%.

In 2013, the percentage of 30-second ads fell to 53% and 15-second spots increased to 44%.

The increased number of commercials has translated to more money flowing into television. According to Nielsen, advertisers spent $78 billion on TV commercials in 2013, compared to $64 billion in 2009.

And now, because of the shift, a typical 30-second spot in prime time costs less. The average cost of this commercial was $7,800 in 2013, versus the $8,900 it cost in 2009.

There is concern by those who are marketing the products, that this overload will cause their product to be lost in the clutter.  And with more of us viewers embracing our digital video recorders, and ad block, many of those ads are being lost to the fast-forward button if not blocked completely.

By the way, Nielsen’s study comes the same week the big broadcast networks start unveiling their fall schedules to advertisers.

Read more of this growing ad trend and its potential setbacks at L. A. Times.


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