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Report Says TV Network Devoting More Time to Commercials

October 5, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ The three major networks are devoting more time to commercials even though they’re struggling to hold onto their share of the viewing audience, a new study says.

The study, prepared for two major advertising groups, said that NBC, ABC and CBS had increased the amount of prime time allowed for commercials and non-program messages including network promotions and public service announcements.

The head of a group that represents the networks said despite the reported increase, the networks devote less time to ads than cable networks or independent stations.

Researchers who compiled the latest Television Commercial Monitoring Report studied the amount of time allotted for commercials in March compared with results from a similar survey in November 1990. The studies were conducted for the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers.

CBS and NBC each allotted 20 seconds more to commercials each hour during the prime evening viewing hours in March than they did in November 1990, the report said. It found ABC’s commercial time was up by two seconds per hour.

That left CBS with 11 minutes and six seconds of each primetime hour spent on commercials, promotions and public service announcements. NBC was next at 11 minutes and ABC was at 10 minutes, 16 seconds.

The networks are fighting to hold their shrinking share of the television audience. They drew more than 90 percent of the viewers in the late 1970s, but saw their share slide to 63 percent last season.

Peter Chrisanthopoulos, president of the Network Television Association, said the association conducted its own study of how much time various TV outlets allowed for commercials last November.

It showed that the three major networks averaged nine minutes per hour for local or national commercials while independent stations averaged 11 minutes, 37 seconds and the five biggest cable networks averaged 10 minutes, 58 seconds.

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