Kantar Media says NBC has been running more breaks in the Olympics -- the actual number of interruptions per hour --- versus NBC’s regular prime-time programming. This comes to 7-8 breaks per hour for the Olympics versus 5-6 breaks per hour for NBC’s regular-season prime-time shows.
Still, the average commercial time per hour is pretty much the same -- 15 minutes and 37 minutes for the Rio Olympics versus 15:38 for the London Olympics.
These results include paid advertising time — as well as TV station/network promos airing Monday through Saturday, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“More frequent breaks fuel the perception of over-commercialization, even as the duration of these pods has been a bit shorter,” writes Jon Swallen, chief research officer of Kantar Media Intelligence North America, Kantar Media.
Early news stories about NBC’s Olympics coverage focused on TV viewers’ social media complaints, angry about what was perceived as too many ad messages during the games.
Swallen also points total commercial/promo time for NBC’s Olympic coverage -- 15:37-- is actually less than in NBC’s regular prime-time programming, which typically averages about 16-17 non-program minutes per hour.