Commercial Clutter May Finally Choke Content

It's a cluttered ad life in TV--and that's only the start.

A growing commercial and show promo load on the broadcast and cable networks  has seemingly never stopped. In fact, cable, it appears now, has taken over the top spot with commercial clutter--especially for networks like MTV Networks.

It's secret? No one knows for sure. Perhaps younger adults don't really mind being sold to that much. And MTV, being the promotional machine that it is, has been stuffing in  more promo-time to tout its array of other programming choices.

Well, that's your typical Viacom cable synergy. No mystery there. All this comes from being a commercial business enterprise--TV networks have this thing about making more money every year.

Of course, in future years media wants a double, triple whammy: digital TV downloads-- with or without advertising. Even then, who's to say a download from iTunes Music Store won't have a short 10-second or 15-second pre-roll ad leading in the show.



Worried about clutter now? This is nothing.

Debbie Solomon, senior partner and group research director at Mindshare, told Media Life that clutter has not stopping growing since the early 1990s. And she wonders and worries, like the rest of the marketing world, where this all is heading.

I'll tell you: branded content in TV commercials. Right now non-program time sits at about 15 to 17 minutes, depending on who's counting, depending on which network. Say that was reversed. Say you get only 15 to 17 minutes of program time per house. You'd have content integrating commercials--not the other way around.

Current branded entertainment deals may used to combat commercial clutter. But, in fact, it adds to it.

Only HBO, Showtime, and a few other select networks have seemingly resisted the trend (through product integration has made its way into those shows as well). Even non-commercial cable networks of long ago--AMC and Bravo, and even PBS--are on the hunt for marketers' money.

Pretty soon the only thing viewers will be doing each night is spending 10, 20, or 30 minutes of pure fast forwarding.

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