Commercial breaks. We all know why there are commercial breaks in our television viewing...it’s so you can go to the bathroom or get a snack and not miss any of the action. Not what they advertisers want to hear, but most likely the truth.
Curious, I took a one hour span, from 4 until 5 P.M. on a weekday, and made note of the number and kinds of actual ads that were presented. There were five commercial breaks, three to five minutes each time, running from six to eleven ads. Most of these ads only lasting 30 seconds, almost subliminal as they were of such short duration.
At the top of the hour, I tuned to the Lifetime Channel to watch NCIS. Six ads ran before the show began, for a total of 5 minutes.
A movie trailer for With This Ring
Nutragena skin care
Vichy make up
Flex Care Insurance
Tim Horton’s coffee
And an ad for movies and shows for the month...Serendipity in Love
The actual show ran for 10 minutes before the next commercial break, which lasted 3 minutes and included the following 11 advertisements.
A Lifetime show...The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce
Neutragena skin care x2
L’Oreal make up x2
Movie trailer for Fifty shades of Gray
Lucky charms cereal
Old El Paso taco kits
KFC...Kentucky Fried Chicken
Red Rose Tea
L’Oreal x3 (2nd time this break)
Baby bel cheese
Promotional ad for Kids Baking Championship show
After this we got another 11 minutes of NCIS, followed by another 3 minutes of ads.
Promotion for show Top Gear on the History channel
eHarmony dating service
Elite dating service
Public Service announcement for the Aboriginal Human Resource Council
Promo for show Friends to Lovers
Eight more minutes of NCIS and back to the commercials.
Lucky Charms cereal x2
El Paso x2
EOS lip balm
eHarmony dating x2
L’Oreal make up x4
Another Public Service...Raising the Roof.
Another 13 minutes of the show and it was basically done. Ad time again, for another three minutes.
Promos for Lifetime shows
Veet hair removal
Feria hair colour
Promo for new show Battle Creek
Promo for return of Big Brother Canada
NCIS returned for less than a minute, just to run the closing credits.
So, if this is par for the course in television land, our hour long show actually runs 43 minutes, with the rest of the hour being 17 minutes of commercials.
And in those five commercial breaks there were 43 ads, though some were repeats. I would assume this time of day the viewing audience would be mainly women, just home from work, just before dinner. That would be why the ads were heavy in the food (12) and make up/skin care (10) categories. Promo ads were numerous; all but one for television shows (10). Public Service announcements were low (2). There were (2) company ads, and (6) promos for service companies.
As I stay tuned for the next hour of crime drama, NCIS Las Angeles, it made me appreciate the talent needed to make those 43 minutes of viewing time. Screen writers have a very different challenge than those who write fiction. It’s all about the action and dialogue, the visual speaks for itself. In books, that visual has to be written, and you know that old saying...One picture is worth a thousand words.
I must have paid some attention to the ads because I’m hungry, and seem to have a craving for KFC, which I haven’t had in years, or tacos. I’m also aware that my skin feels dry and wonder if one of these products would help.
Considering the large number of viewers, I would assume the ads create interest and/or result in sales, so it’s worth the cost and effort.