More Clutter on Broadcast, Cable

May 4, 2006  •  Post A Comment

A report released by media buying agency MindShare on Wednesday showed that commercial clutter in prime time increased 2 percent on the broadcast networks and 5 percent on cable in 2005 from the prior year.

Ad buyers say that the high-level clutter, the volume of commercials and promos that run in each hour of prime time, is eating away at the effectiveness of television advertising and have been urging networks to cut down on nonprogram time during their shows.

“The current data on clutter is disturbing,” said MindShare Group Research Director Debbie Solomon in the report. “It highlights the continuing concerns about the messaging and communications value of the TV environment caused by the increasing number of distracting elements in prime time.”

According to the report, ABC had the most nonprogram minutes at 15:26 per hour, up from 15:21 in 2004. Fox showed the biggest increase in total commercial minutes at 11 percent, but its nonprogram minutes dipped slightly, indicating the network cut back on promos while increasing paid ads. NBC had fewer commercial minutes than in 2004, but its nonprogram minutes were flat, indicating it increased the number of promos it runs. CBS’s nonprogram minutes increased to 14:52 per hour but remained the lowest of the Big 4 networks.

On cable, MTV had the most clutter, with more than 16 minutes of nonprogram material per hour, up 20 percent from last year. It was the first time some cable networks had more clutter than their broadcast counterparts. Other cable networks with more than 15 minutes worth of clutter include Discovery, Lifetime, USA and Spike. TNT had the fewest total commercial minutes with less than 11 minutes per hour, while ESPN had the lowest total nonprogram minutes.