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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Program Time Vs. Ad Time


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32 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:13 PM

At one time (not too long ago) programs accounted for about 22 minutes per half hour.

Today:

  • Many shows have dropped or severely curtailed opening/theme sequences.
  • Most shows now run the closing credits over the last few minutes of the program. Almost none have separate closing sequences any more.
  • With syndicated reruns, closing sequences on older shows are reduced to unreadable small windows and run overlapping the opening minute or so of the next program which is also in a small window.
  • Most shows contain several on screen network ads/promos, most animated, some with sound.

My estimate of pure programming time (no ads or promos of any kind) per half hour now is somewhere around 10 minutes.

Are there any actual numbers available?
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#2 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:26 PM

Average running time of a NCIS episode is 41 min 37 sec.

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#3 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:43 PM

Average running time of a NCIS episode is 41 min 37 sec.

Sounds about right. And as I noted here I got all 19± minutes of commercials from major advertisers streaming last week's show from CBS.COM because I screwed up my recording timer.

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#4 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:48 PM

But how much of that has an ad/promo overlay? Other than the persistent network ID bug.
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#5 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:49 PM

Seems like I spend more time/effort fast-forwarding.

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#6 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:57 PM

But how much of that has an ad/promo overlay? Other than the persistent network ID bug.


It varies with the networks and is more prevalent on national channels like TNT and USA.

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#7 OFFLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:00 PM

If you're curious about times, look up shows on Netflix & iTunes, since they're ad less. Almost every show is 22-23 minutes for 30 minute shows & 42-43 minutes for 60 minute shows.
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#8 OFFLINE   djlong

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:27 AM

And a good barometer of "the good old days" would be Star Trek. The original series shows up as having a 51 minute run time on it's episodes.

#9 OFFLINE   jimmie57

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:03 AM

I am definitely going to let the NASCAR races record for at least an hour before I start watching them. I felt like the original poster yesterday that the Program / Racing was less than the advertisings.

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#10 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 11:52 AM

I dont watch hardly any sports or live events "live" anymore. I chase them all. For a Nascar race, I usually start watching my recording a good 90 minutes in. I end up finishing the recording almost back to live time.

#11 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:18 PM

At one time (not too long ago) programs accounted for about 22 minutes per half hour.

Today:

  • Many shows have dropped or severely curtailed opening/theme sequences.
  • Most shows now run the closing credits over the last few minutes of the program. Almost none have separate closing sequences any more.
  • With syndicated reruns, closing sequences on older shows are reduced to unreadable small windows and run overlapping the opening minute or so of the next program which is also in a small window.
  • Most shows contain several on screen network ads/promos, most animated, some with sound.

My estimate of pure programming time (no ads or promos of any kind) per half hour now is somewhere around 10 minutes.

Are there any actual numbers available?

Most of that is to keep you from getting bored and tuning away, or from thinking that you know the theme runs 30 seconds so you can surf around for something better during it, after which you may not come back.

The average time, according to Warren Littlefield late of NBC, is around 21:30 for a network sitcom, and during "Must See" era it was around 22 minutes. Of course Warren thought the quality was much better back then. The profits certainly were.

All I know is that I can crank my skip button between 4-9 times to get through a network break (more when paired with a local break) and about 6-8 times on a cable channel, which makes me think cable shows have less content per hour.

I can also routinely crank it 8 times for the first two commercial breaks in Letterman, 6 times when a guest has a second segment (between them) and 10 times for the breaks late in the show (I also crank it a couple of times at the top of the show to get directly to Dave's monolog and cut out all of that useless band nonsense).

If I want to see the previews of next week on a network show, it is regularly two cranks of the skip button. And when I realized that I was fast-forwarding all but about 2 minutes of Fear Factor, that was when I realized that I had been following that show far too long.

I probably owe the networks millions for all of the commercials I have skipped since I won a Betamax in a contest in 1977. Good luck collecting any of that.

I understand that they want to push that envelope to where they have as many ads in the show as they can before people just give up, but it seems somewhat ironic to push that envelope when the business model is a dinosaur from the post-war forties that no longer really applies. We are not a captive audience anymore, and we will not watch what we don't want to.

Stations are so scared of the Hopper that they regularly remove DISH barter commercials built into syndicated shows and refuse to air them.
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#12 OFFLINE   seern

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:30 PM

Another measure of the ad time in shows is BBCA programs like Top Gear and Ripper where they show the full 60 minutes of the British version but the show takes up 80 minutes of air time here so 20 minutes of commercials.

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#13 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:48 PM

Another measure of the ad time in shows is BBCA programs like Top Gear and Ripper where they show the full 60 minutes of the British version but the show takes up 80 minutes of air time here so 20 minutes of commercials.

And you can take two views of that:

1) that sucks

2) without those commercials it may never have seen the light of day over here


It's usually safe to talk honestly and openly with people because they typically are not really listening anyway.

#14 OFFLINE   gov

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 08:09 PM

Back in the good old days, LOL, my old and dearly departed HR10-250 could display legible closed captions at 2X speed, so, I could absorb a 1hr show in a tad over 20 minutes by blipping commercials. Still, I could have no interruptions or distractions, I had to be alert. I was younger too.

Mentioned that to several clients, don't think anybody I told ever tried it or thought it was a good idea.

#15 OFFLINE   Church AV Guy

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:51 AM

Another measure of the ad time in shows is BBCA programs like Top Gear and Ripper where they show the full 60 minutes of the British version but the show takes up 80 minutes of air time here so 20 minutes of commercials.


And you can take two views of that:

1) that sucks

2) without those commercials it may never have seen the light of day over here


THIS I fully support. I really want to see the whole show, so if they "need" to put it in an extended (80 or 85 minute) block to show it all, I can deal with that, since I skip the commercials anyway. I can deal with that, much better than time compression or scene cutting. :(
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#16 OFFLINE   trainman

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:55 AM

The average time, according to Warren Littlefield late of NBC, is around 21:30 for a network sitcom, and during "Must See" era it was around 22 minutes.


I've recently been watching "Amazing Stories" on Netflix, a show which originally aired on NBC in the mid-1980s, and those episodes last exactly 24:40 (including a full opening title sequence and full-screen closing credits) -- so presumably NBC's "classic" 1980s sitcoms, such as "Cheers" and "The Cosby Show" were about that same length.
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#17 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:21 PM

I've recently been watching "Amazing Stories" on Netflix, a show which originally aired on NBC in the mid-1980s, and those episodes last exactly 24:40 (including a full opening title sequence and full-screen closing credits) -- so presumably NBC's "classic" 1980s sitcoms, such as "Cheers" and "The Cosby Show" were about that same length.

Probably about right. I think Littlefield was probably referring to the generalized goal for actual show time, not including opening theme, credits, etc. Also, there was probably a lot of wiggle room there.

The FCC used to limit commercial time in prime time, possibly even outside prime. But I think today all bets are off, and outlets police themselves; they know that if they stray too far towards too many commercials, that people will reach a breaking point and just stop watching. There is also the issue of a sponsor not wanting to be buried in a sea of other commercials.

When I started in television, we had a strict rule about protecting clients; you could not run competing furniture store spots or car spots in the same break or even in breaks that might come close together. Today there is no protection; it is not unusual to see a Hyundai spot bumped up against a Chevy spot adjacent to a Ford spot, with all claiming to be number one in sales.

And what really irks me is promos; every show is a "hit series", even if it hasn't aired yet. Do No Harm was promoed as a "hit", and it got yanked unceremoniously after two record-shatteringly low ratings reports. They need to stop insulting our intelligence like that; we all know by now that "hit" is code for "we really hope its a hit even if it hasn't a chance in hell".
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#18 OFFLINE   Church AV Guy

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:50 AM

And what really irks me is promos; every show is a "hit series", even if it hasn't aired yet. Do No Harm was promoed as a "hit", and it got yanked unceremoniously after two record-shatteringly low ratings reports. They need to stop insulting our intelligence like that; we all know by now that "hit" is code for "we really hope its a hit even if it hasn't a chance in hell".


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I too have been rolling my eyes when I hear about the new HIT that hasn't even aired yet, and the critics that have seen it early have panned it. I fear the English language is being rewritten by advertisers and promo writers.
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#19 OFFLINE   trainman

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:13 PM

The FCC used to limit commercial time in prime time, possibly even outside prime. But I think today all bets are off...


Actually, back in the olden days, there was no FCC regulation on commercial time -- but limits on commercial time were part of the National Association of Broadcasters "Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters," a statement of principles to which most of the local stations in the country subscribed, which meant in practice that the networks also didn't exceed the limits with their programming (since most of their affiliates subscribed to the NAB Code). The Code went away in the early 1980s following an antitrust settlement with the Justice Department.

These days, there is an FCC regulation in place about commercial time, but it only affects programming intended for children.
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#20 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:20 PM

Like I've said on other threads, I rarely, if ever watch network TV any more. I've been recording a few, but haven't watched many yet.

What I'm seeing in cable/sat syndicated shows is far less than 20 minutes. The old days of Chuck Woolery 'we'll be back in two and two' as he flashes two fingers are long gone. Some individual commercials are over two minutes and I've seen breaks run closer to five minutes on some networks like Nick at Nite or TBS.

I get a kick out of some of the old shows like Wyatt Earp currently running on Encore Westerns where the closing credits are shown in front of a cereal or soap box.
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