How Many Minutes of Commercials Are Shown in an Average TV Hour? The Number Has Been Steadily Climbing

May 13, 2014  •  Post A Comment

The number of commercials shown in a typical hour of television has increased steadily over the past five years, the Los Angeles Times’ Company Town reports, citing a study from Nielsen.

Broadcast networks averaged 13 minutes and 25 seconds of commercial time per hour in 2009, which grew to 14 minutes and 15 seconds in 2013, the story reports.

On cable TV, the growth has been even more significant, the report notes. Last year, the average was 15 minutes and 38 seconds, up from 14 minutes and 27 seconds in 2009, according to the report.

And more commercials are being jammed into that growing ad hole, with the number of 30-second spots decreasing while the number of 15-second ads rises.

"In 2009, 30-second spots accounted for 62% of all ads on television; 15-second spots were just 35%. In 2013, the percentage of 30-second ads fell to 53% and 15-second spots increased to 44%," the story reports. "The increased number of commercials has translated to more money flowing into television. According to Nielsen, advertisers spent $78 billion on TV commercials in 2013, compared to $64 billion in 2009."


  1. i was watching a cable channel program and there was a commercial break every 6 minutes, makes me want to stop watching tv

  2. That’s why the only way we watch TV is to DVR the shows and fast forward through the commercials.

    • Boycott Cable, even CNN, there is no other way they will learn.

  3. I believe the 30 minutes of nightly news has more than 10 minutes of ads. It seems the news interrupts a stream of hideous car ads etc.

  4. My sense is that many cable news are more than 1/4th consisting of ads. I could be interested in watching them but stopped watching. I also doubt that the commencials happen every 6 minutes, that would mean 10 breaks but only 90 seconds of commercials at a break, way lower. Perhaps there are also in-house commercials for the network pushing itself constantly. If half of the time is news would be it.

  5. Its no secret. We, as human beings, watch way too much tv, and its been proven make us more complacent rather than free thinking, emotionally intelligent people.
    So I’m glad these commercials breaks are growing and seeming to drag on more and more, like pushers trying to force products down your throat. Because i dont care how addicted you are to TV, the way this is going is pushing me away from the ordeal of it, and I know I cant be the only one.

  6. I can go the bathroom, make a sandwich, and finish it, and the commercials are still not over. It makes me not want to watch TV.

  7. I have learned to be very good at commercial cleaning. I watch General Hospital at 2 PM EST. The first commercial comes in just a couple of minutes. That’s when I wash any dishes in the sink. The next commercial is in four minutes; I set up my vacuum and pick up newspapers and shoes that are cluttering the floor. The next commercial is in four minutes and that gives me three minutes to run my sweeper and put it away. I still have time to pour myself a cup of coffee. The next commercials are in five minutes, allowing me plenty of time to polish the tables and start my laundry. The wash is started and I make my beds during the next commercials. Soon I transfer my washer load into the dryer while I sweep the kitchen and dining room. Back to my soap opera! Now my rooms are clean, my laundry is ready to fold or hang during the next set of commercials. Soon my show is nearly over and I still have six commercials left to start supper! I think we’ll have a casserole, so I can watch Dr. Phil at 4PM. It’s all a matter of scheduling your day!!!

    • Bless you and your formula for resisting consumer propaganda.

  8. Is there any address that I can send my feeling about how many commercials are being played at one time on Satellite TV. For fun yesterday I counted how many commercials played during break the average is 10 up to 13 that is crazy. I pay $90 a month for Satellite TV so I guess I am the crazy one.

  9. Yes it is pathetic how many commercials that are on TV especially when they repeat the same commercial over and over during the break of the same thing. That is why I have gone to Netflix and antenna TV only I’ know other people will continue watching the cable and Dish and all the other ways out there. But I am finished paying for commercials. It is totally stupid to waste money on commercials that are longer than
    our shows..

  10. Stop watching TV or rent movies. Better yet watch Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or any of the other pay services. No commercials. This is commercial insanity.

  11. It’s the same with the national news media. It is merely a place for the broadcasters to offer an opinion or guests who push them or the show SO THAT THEY GET PAID. There are no actual reporters anymore WHO TRULY FIND THE NEWS AND DEVELOP IT What burns me up the most are the small viewer days like Friday, Saturday and Sunday. MANY TIMES, they simply show a complete hour of what they showed before many, many times.. I only use the TV for DVD movies where I can fast forward over the name promoting actors, director, etc. Many times the “broadcasters” are presenting it in a way that helps them to persuade viewers. NO MORE. I’M GONE

  12. I mute all commercials, and if I do see an advertiser on way more than others, I never buy their product. I’m also in development of a product that auto-mutes commercials, as the existing products out there that auto-mute don’t work for long. So far, it’s coming along great !

  13. I have never ,and I mean never have bought one thing that I’ve seen on a commercial. I always mute them, I will come back into the room just to mute them. I usually always watch two shows at once , and sometimes it’ll be three , so when Commercials come on one I flip to the other. They are useless annoyances.

  14. I, agree with all these other vewers about commercials being out of control. I to, have never bought a prodect that has been adderverised. I also mute all commercials. It’s rediculus that some commercials last as long as 7 minutes or longer. Just watch the chiller channel.

  15. Just watched E channel. I counted 14 commercial at one time. Ridiculous!! Not only is commercials outrageous but the volume goes up during the commercials. What their next move? Can’t get much worse! Americans need to stand together and boycott certain channels on certain days to show our voice matters. GREED IS OUT OF CONTROL!!

  16. The irony is that consumer based propaganda (ads) helps sell the political propaganda that frequently masquerades as “news”.

    TV is rather revolting.

  17. I cannot stand watching the news anymore. There are some news stations that literally show a story for 30 seconds, cut to commercials, show another 30 second story and then have more commercials again. That is absolutely outrageous and should never happen. On top of that they show the same 3-4 commercials over and over again ON EVERY BREAK. The amount of times I have to see the same car ads have driven me to madness. I hate commercials so much. Thank God for Netflix and channels like HBO because paying to not have to see any commercials is more then worth it. Plus DVRing all TV shows is the way to do it.

  18. Thirteen minutes per hour? How is the word “commercial” defined? My hunch is that the 13-minute figure is way low! I watch CNN frequently and as often as not when I turn it on what comes on is a COMMERCIAL. If the 13-minute figure was accurate I would only see a commercial when I turn the TV on once in four times. Fox news is just as bad, as in MSNBC. None are worth the bombardment of their commercials. These channels won’t keep discriminating audiences for very long at the rate they are going down the road to commercialization. Happy profits and goodbye!

  19. I am getting rid of the cable contract. I have kept it for my husband, who loves sports. But it is so not worth the huge fees. I actually watched a ‘Friends’ episode specifically for the purpose of timing the commercials. I promise you that over 15 minutes of the ‘half hour’ show was ad time. Sick. Greed. The world of business is, in general, a very pathetic comment on the human state.

  20. Why don’t they just run commercials 24 / 7.THEY ARE NOT FAR FROM IT !

  21. You cant channel surf anymore, all the channels are on commercial breaks.

    Too many channels, too many commercials is killing tv.

  22. I agree. I limit my TV view on cable to mostly free movies on certain channels Tha t have no commercials. Can forget HGTV and a number of other stations. They have like 25 minutes of commercials and 5 minutes of programming.

  23. True Roy. The Liberty Insurance ads are on at least 200 times a day.

  24. Commercial creep was a factor in my decision to dump cable altogether in favor of ad-free streaming services. I find traditional cable simply unwatchable — bad shows loaded with ads — and it offends me that cable companies charge a premium for access to this garbage. So now I stream ad-free movies and shows for far less money, and am much more satisfied for it. I do maintain a subscription to Sling for sports, but now find it hard to watch even a high profile football game, due to the sheer number of commercials being pushed out. Don’t they realize they’re alienating their customer base?

  25. We’ve stopped watching television in our house.
    Our days now don’t have enough hours in them.
    Best thing we ever did.
    I never realised how much utter nonsense was on tv.
    And the best part is…. our dose of corporate vomit (adverts) has been slashed significantly.

    I can’t recommend it highly enough.
    Your imagination comes back – you may even start to question things – which is a long lost art.
    I’m proud to say that I don’t recognise a single advert on TV when I see one played – wherever I might be.
    Try it…. your lives will come back.

  26. There are thousands of complaints about the excessive commercials the TV networks are running. Action must be taken for all these legitimate complaints. What can be done to set new regulations on advertising interruption time of network programs. We are paying a lot of money for our TV viewing, and feel that customer satisfaction in the most important. The greed of TV networks has overrun our program viewing. The consumer has rights too, and need help with this matter. Please help us!

  27. I would be curious to know if the reason for more and more commercials is that operating costs keep going up or if it’s going into profits for the cable companies and their executives.

    Yes, we have options–shut the box off! But truth be told, “customer satisfaction” is no longer a meaningful factor.

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