TV Ads – Too Many?

We are in the business of providing the material that prevents the commercials from all slamming together … that’s what we are doing here. That’s what we are doing on the West Wing set. We gotta deliver them twelve minutes of stuff to separate the Chevy commercials.

— Lawrence O’Donnell, Jr. Executive Producer of the The West Wing. Quoted in an NPR interview, January 2006.

I counted forty-two ads in last week’s episode of Lost. And that does not include any that aired before the show started or after the credits started to roll. Just forty-two ads in five breaks squeezed between six seven-minute segments of content. There were almost nineteen minutes of ads in a sixty-two minute time slot. That’s almost 30% of the air time dedicated to noise from advertisers.

Marketers and media moguls wonder why the ad-supported model is dying. I am saturated. My brain is full. Each ad flashes what seems like an endless stream of sub-second images in front of me. Yes, I have a TiVo, and the 30-second skip, and I fast forward through most of the ads. But I am tired of the noise that is attacking my senses.

On a related note, we canceled our cable today. We kept basic cable service in case we want to watch a presidential speech or catch the occasional episode of The Daily Show. I am sure that the advertisers won’t miss me. I wasn’t buying any of their stuff anyway. I am looking forward to spend more time with a few of the books that I have been meaning to read.

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