Decline of TV Commercials

Posted on 5/22/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Tired of having to watch 18 minutes of commercials in every hour- long TV series? Next season, Fox will be cutting the commercials down to 10 minutes and giving viewers more entertainment.

Network television viewing numbers are down. Fox has concluded that viewers may be getting tired of endless commercial interruptions. It says it is going to cut the advertising in half for two new shows premiering this fall. Instead of just 41 minutes of actual series, the entertainment part of the programs will be 50 minutes long.

Fox is not being benevolent. It's just going to charge advertisers much more to be part of the 10 minutes allotted to ads. The thinking: less clutter will draw viewers. More eyeball means the ads should cost more. It's calling its gamble "remote-free TV" - meaning that with less commercials, the viewer will be less likely to switch channels when an ad appears.

"We need to give viewers a reason to come to broadcast," says Fox chairman Peter Liguori. "We're going to have less commercials, less promotional time and less reason for viewers to use the remote. We're going to have more character, more content, more value."

What It Means For Photographers

Photographers who are TV viewers will cheer this change, particularly if it expands beyond just two programs to all Fox offerings and other networks. But videographers may see a decline in the clips sold for advertising. If this trend were to expand to all the networks, that would mean 44% fewer commercial minutes. Advertisers will be paying more to place each 30-second spot, but the videographer's fee remains the same, regardless of how many times the commercial is shown, or the total paid for placement by the advertiser.

Changes for photographers will not take place overnight, but such a trend seems likely to be widely supported and encouraged by viewers. That could mean a significant decline in the number of different ads on TV in two or three years.

Copyright © 2008 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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