Are We Raising Commercial-Free Kids?

If my dad had been thinking, he could have snapped a Kodachrome photo of me sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, mouth agape, staring at a commercial on the television set. Then he could have sold it over and over to be used in magazine stories about how television was turning a whole generation of innocents into advertising-addled mushmelons.

More than I probably know, I am that mushmelon.

I still hum jingles that were already old in the Reagan days. And just like an infomercial for K-tel Records, I’m prone to write, “But wait, there’s more” a few times a year when I’m compiling a list of usually worthless items. I'm totally commercially infested and so are you 

I read a short piece on a Web site called that posits you could save the money you spend on a monthly subscription to Netflix just calculated on the number of commercials your child will not see. Those unseen commercials save from spending on the unnecessary stuff commercials hawk to your children.



According to the math from another Web site,, Netflix saves children from 150 hours of commercials a year.

That’s six days of commercials a year, based on a commercial load of 14 ads per hour, and kids watching an average of 1.8 hours a day on streaming devices. (Of course, streaming devices do include this little thing called YouTube that, you will recall, does show commercials).

More stunning, perhaps, is that those young people spend a total of 650 hours watching streaming media each year, at the expense of television fare that is presented with commercials, the way God intended.

You get the idea. SVOD saves children’s brains, and saves parents money.

But wait, there’s more. (See?)  It’s not just the youngsters. The same Website earlier compiled info about the Responsible Parents(or Guardians) of these kids and discovered they’re missing 130 hours of commercials a year themselves.

We are basically just having fun with numbers here. But it amazing that there seems to be continued demand for commercial-free sites.

CBS All Access now offers an ad-free option, and Hulu aggressively markets its ad free versions. Even The New York Times is into it.

And YouTube, which created the most mass world market for video with advertising pre-roll, has its commercial-free YouTube Red.

A new report from Digitalsmiths points out Red has captured 3% of the viewers buying video subscriptions. That’s pretty good for a service that didn’t even exist until last fall, and that, it would have been logical to have assumed, would have hit some resistance from viewers who thought $10 a month to watch four minute videos was a little much.

Instead, the market still has room for online video services that don’t make room for advertising. Any child could tell you that.
1 comment about "Are We Raising Commercial-Free Kids? ".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 6, 2016 at 4:50 p.m.

    No one needs TV commercials to learn how to consume. It's a no-brainer. Ads in movie theaters and along the highway will more than pick up the slack. Broadcasting wore out its welcome with all the intrusions, especially for highly-personal products that used to be relegated to the back of magazines.

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