Commercials, Commercials, Commercials


Public TV in France, in a very un-CBC-like move, is going to eliminate all commercials by 2011 (so they won’t have anything interrupting those all-important Silver Spoons reruns). The idea that any channels in the world are actually going to show fewer commercials is a confusing and disorienting thing. But there are other signs, and not just from France, that we may finally have reached the point of commercial over-saturation and that the number of commercials may finally have to contract, rather than expand. Another sign is that Fox’s experiment with fewer commercials — and therefore, old-school running times — on Fringe may actually be working, by increasing the likelihood that viewers will actually watch the damn commercials:

About 13% of ads during Fringe are being skipped, per ratings that include DVR playback, while 16% to 20% of ads in other leading hour-long Fox shows are being skipped, according to Magna Global (via MediaPost).

Fox’s initiative, dubbed Remote Free TV, includes just 10 minutes of national ads per hour, compared to 16 minutes of other hour-long shows. The second show in the initiative, Dollhouse, premieres Feb. 13.

And while I’m on the topic of commercials, this is a quote from a December 1955 Associated Press article, about the success of The Mickey Mouse Club (and therefore the newfound popularity of washed-up cartoon star Mickey). The writer talks about the good stuff, but then comes the bad part: the shocking number of commercials. Which, of course, is a smaller number of commercials than we routinely accept on prime-time television today.

But the commercials! They’re enough to drive you nuts. Not only are there three in every 15 minutes. The station also sneaks in three more every 15 minutes at the station break.

The Disney people are just as upset as the public. Walt apparently didn’t foresee the excesses of the network; he vows that next year he’ll have some control over such matters.

Finally, more on The Snuggie and its amazing global pop-cultural reach. Most amazing of all: four million people have ordered the thing.

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Commercials, Commercials, Commercials

  1. Must mean more product placement.

    • I don’t mind product placement very much. Actually, I prefer it when the characters use real products instead of generic products (you notice that the characters on Big Bang Theory still drink a product called “Diet Cola”? It bugs me). As long as the products are things that the characters would plausibly use, I’d rather have the products integrated that way instead of having 4-minute commercial breaks.

      • I’m glad to see someone else say this. I was beginning to think that I was the only person on earth to not mind product placement, which I will happily take more of if it means longer running times and fewer Dawn Hand Renewal ads with the creepy hand-fetish sponge.

        The only kind of product placement that really bugs me is the kind that has all these cops driving around in brand-new SUVs all the time. But even that is far better than car commercials, which invariably suck.

      • It bothers the hell out of me when a shot is clearly framed, a product held in an artificial way, just so we can see the brand name. I don’t care that something’s there, I just want it to not be obviously jammed in there. It breaks the scene for me.

  2. Agree. What’s the big deal. (That’s me as a viewer. As a writer, I have a whole bunch of problems with it. Like, can you guarantee I’m not going to have to shoehorn in a B.S. product that is a bad fit? Are you going to guarantee to keep advertising types away from me — because if I start getting notes from the AD GUYS as well as the producers, network and studio, I am just. going. to. SH*T)

    Jaime, did you ever see anything more on the stuff I remember from last year that showed that “high quality” shows like The Office and Mad Men and such were less likely to be zipped through comms than lowest common denominator shows. I swear I saw data on that.)

    The Fringe thing doesn’t surprise me. It’s really almost not even worth zipping through when the comm break’s only 70 seconds.

  3. After they finish cutting the commerical time per hour they can start doing something about putting the opening and closing theme songs back on the shows (cutting them in favor of more show promos was another wonderful NBC innovation started back in 1994 that has spread like the Black Plague to all the other networks, broadcast and cable, over the past 15 years).

  4. TIVO and systems that allow you to record and skip commercials are probably helping with this, it is worth skipping 20 commercials, but 2 isn't really worth it.