Olympics Commercial TV Time: More Ad 'Breaks'

Seven days of Olympics coverage on NBC has averaged virtually the same advertising commercial time per hour versus the London Summer Olympics in 2012. But the number of actual commercial “breaks” is higher.

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.

1 comment about "Olympics Commercial TV Time: More Ad 'Breaks'".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 17, 2016 at 11:03 a.m.

    If NBC is running more breaksĀ  in the Olympics---as reported----but is not devoting more time to ads, then it is airing fewer spots per break which, based on most research evidence, would have a positive effect on ad recall and related metrics. It has long been established that per-break ad clutter is what matters most, not how many breaks there are per hour.

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