A new national study on public service advertising, called "Shouting to be Heard: Public Service Advertising in a New Media Age,"
finds that broadcast and cable television networks donate an average of 15 seconds an hour to air public service ads (PSAs), representing just under one-half of one percent (0.4%) of all airtime. By comparison, 25% of airtime is filled with paid advertising and promotions. A significant portion of the donated airtime (43%) is during the late night hours between midnight and 6 AM; 9% is in prime time. More than one in three (37%) PSAs that receive donated airtime address a child-related topic, such as children's health care, parenting, education or mentoring. One out of every four donated PSAs (27%) is on a health-related topic.
The top four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC) donate an average of 17 seconds an hour to PSAs, including 5 seconds an hour during prime time (for a total of 15 seconds per network during the three hours of prime time). Cable networks donate an average of seven seconds per hour to PSAs, including eight seconds an hour in prime time. Univision, the dominant Spanish-language network, donates 48 seconds per hour, including 49 seconds an hour in prime time.