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Jim's Jottings

Ad breaks on tv lengthen breaks from tv

September 15, 2010 - For all my television viewing life, over half a century, I've known, and believed advertising has had restricted time slots. I had no proof, no solid information, but it is what I believed.

So, being a computer illiterate, I asked Don Rush to confirm my beliefs. On the internet, he found that in the 1960s, a typical hour-long American show would run for 51 minutes, excluding ads.

Today, a similar program would only be 42 minutes long; a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes of programing with six minutes of national advertising and two minutes of local.

Some networks even use an 18 minutes of show/12 minutes of commercial split.

So, over the course of 10 hours, American viewers will see approximately three hours of advertisements, twice what we saw in the 1960s. Further, a rerun of a 1960s show today may be cut by nine minutes to make room for the extra ads. More recently that number as grown by two minutes.

This is due, in a large part, to the economic recession that has especially hit sponsorship of broadcast television programming

Ah, there's another factor. That little hand-held remote control has made it extremely easy to "tune out" advertising. Ads also give us time to leave our tv to do other things.

In general, advertisers covet the 18-49 age demographic; older viewers are of almost of no interest to most advertisers.

That's what Don Rush printed out for me.

However, he continued his search for truth about adv/program times and called the Federal Communications Commission.

They said, flat out, there are no longer any time restrictions for advertising on television. I didn't need anybody from the FCC, internet or any other organization to know that.

It became quite apparent to me when watching a baseball game through the commercial. I found the game had restarted while the ads were showing. In some football games the game would start while the ads were finishing.

Now you've done it, FCC! Thanks . . .

You're hitting the 18-49 year old sports nuts right in their acorns. Watch for the networks to lengthen time outs. As we all know, it's all about the money.

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A little something for a granddaughter who needs some advice. I can get lifts from some songs, like this one by Jimmy Durante (and she may not even know who he is.)

"You've got to start off each day with a song, even when things go wrong - Now you'll feel better, you'll even look better, I'm here to tell you you'll be a go getter.

"Now the way that you shake my hand, will tell me how I stand. Now isn't it better to go through life with a smile and a song than walking around with a face 11 miles long?

"Now you know you can't go wrong if you start off each day with a song."

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• This is right off the UP Porcupine Press: Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a 3-day strike in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to in the afterlife. Al Qaeda announced the number of virgins a suicide bomber would receive after death will be cut from 72 to 60.

• A typical pencil can write 45,000 words, or draw a line 35 miles long.

• A good column writer would have stopped way before now.

Jim Sherman, Sr. is president of Sherman Publications, Inc. He has penned "Jim's Jottings" since 1955.
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