This is part one of a two-part rant on commercials. (American television.)
I know that I'm not alone in thinking that commercial breaks are far too long. I mean, honestly, I feel like I watch a lot more commercials than actual T.V. show.
Allow me to shed some light on the subject:
The first commercial to air in the U.S. was on July 1, 1941. It was a 20 second slot during the Dodgers/Phillies game, for the watchmaker Bulova. Commercials didn't start airing regularly until the early 1990s, due to the high cost of air time.
In the 1960s, a typical hour-long program would run 51 minutes, excluding commercials.
The average length of an advertisement was 1 minute, and only one or two commercials would be shown per break.
Today, the average length of an hour-long program is only 42 minutes, excluding commercials, and a typical 30 minute block now consists of 22 minutes of show, with 6 minutes of local advertising, 2 minutes of national.
Some shows go even farther, and only have 18 minutes of show and 12 minutes of commercials.
The average length of a commercial today is 15 seconds.
The average length of a commercial break is 2-4 minutes. Longer if it's the Super Bowl.
Today, over the course of 10 hours, viewers are subjected to about 3 hours of commercials, which is TWICE what it was in the '60s.
That's about 6.5 hours of commercials per day, which leaves about 17.5 hours of actual television.
The average person pays approximately $75 a month for cable (if you don't include Stars, HBO, Cinemax, etc.).
That means we pay about $2.50 for cable per day.
That's a little over 10 cents an hour.
That breaks down to $1.75 per day for the actual programming, leaving 75 cents per day for commercials.
That means we're paying $22.50 per month JUST FOR COMMERCIALS.
We are PAYING to be ADVERTISED TO for things that we would need to PAY FOR.
Doesn't that cheese anyone else off? And there's no way around it. You can't pay your cable company to exclude the advertising. You can get TiVo, but you still have to fast-forward through the commercial breaks. You can channel-surf during the commercial breaks, but you might forget to turn back on time, thus missing part of your show. Sometimes you can get up and go do something else while the commercials are running, but do you really need to get up every 6-8 minutes? I know I don't.
We need to go back to the good old days, when commercials only aired during the break between different shows. I want to be able to sit down to my show and, if I am watching an hour-long show, I want to see at least 55 minutes worth of programming. That leaves five whole minutes of advertising time in between shows. If the big companies can't make due with that, then too bad for them. In the golden age of the Internet, if I need something, or need to know about a product, I can Google that shit.
So, my fellow TV watchers, hear me and join me: Viva La Television Revolution!