Average Hour-Long TV Show is 36% Commercials

May 7, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Television

An average hour of monitored prime-time US network TV programming in Q408 contained seven minutes, 59 seconds (7:59) of in-show brand appearances and 13:52 of network commercial messages, for a combined total of 21:51 of marketing content, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

These commercial messages account for 36% of an average prime-time hour.

Late-Night Shows Nearly Half Commercials

Unscripted reality programming has an average of 13:52 per hour of brand appearances, compared with just 5:56 per hour for scripted programs such as sitcoms and dramas, reported TNS.


Late-night network talk shows have an average of 13:54 per hour, according to TNS. The combined load of brand appearances and network ad messages in these late night shows is 29:34 per hour, or 49% of total content time.

Tough Jobs Need More Marketing

The regularly scheduled prime time programs with the largest volume of brand appearance time in Q408 were America’s Toughest Jobs (44:50 per hour); The Biggest Loser (40:37); and Knight Rider (30:27).

About the research: TNS Media Intelligence tracks branded entertainment within network prime time and late night programming and identifies and measures brand appearances their duration and attributes. Given the short length of many Brand Appearances, duration is a more relevant metric than a count of occurrences for quantifying and comparing the gross amount of brand activity that viewers are potentially exposed to in the program vs. the commercial breaks, according to TNS.


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