Ads Not Adding Up

There seems to ba a new strategy applied to some shows on TV now. It goes something like this: Show starts. First ads appear 20 minutes into the show meaning the first 20 minutes are ad free. Then the remaining 5 ad breaks are roughly evenly placed for the remaining 40 minutes – meaning you have a 3 or even 4 minute ad break occurring every 8 minutes. The net result is that it seems there is as much time dedicated to ads in these 40 minutes as there is to the show itself.

I gave “Pushing Daisies” a go on the W channel last week. I thought they may have arranged their ads this way because it was a new show. But, I noticed this advertising pattern seem sot be the norm on a number of shows. This can be painful if you are watching a show live (thankfully, I hardly ever watch live). The first 20 minutes is obviously fine but the rest of the show ads dominate. Channel 7 and 9 also run this ad strategy for A Current Affair and Today Tonight – no ads for 2o minutes, then 3 ad breaks before the shows finish at 7.05.

No doubt, the reason for having no ads in the first 20 minutes is to keep viewers tuned in and not flicking over to other shows in an increasingly competitive environment. But then you get into the second half of the show and start wondering why there are so many ads. If you have recorded the show, it seems you have just put the remote down from the previous ad break before having to pick it up again for the next. I think evenly distributed ads are fairer.

And while we are talking about ads on the W channel, anyone who watches Jeopardy, 7pm Mon-Fri, would notice the ads are almost twice as loud in volume as the show itself. When watching Jeopardy, my volume output is at about 60, but for the ads, I have to turn down to about 40 to make them appear at equal volume to the show. Having ads that are louder than the show is nothing new, it is just that in the case of Jeopardy the show is so quiet compared to the ads. There was a time when ads on 7HD were much quieter than the show they were airing – which was refreshing to see.

Another problem with Foxtel shows and ads is that the ad breaks appear excessive in order to make a show go for one hour. Most shows without ads are just 40 minutes. That means there is 20 minutes to fill in with ads. For the most part, advertising on Foxtel channels is not as attractive as on free to air channels due to lower audience. That means, that during most shows, there are not enough ads to fill 20 minutes in an hour. The result is countless self promotion ads both for the channel you are watching as well as others. Again, best not to watch live if you have a recorder.

In my opinion, they should reduce the time allocated to ads on some of their channels and maybe have shows starting at odd times. They’d get more shows in and possibly drive up the quality of the ads that do end up there as there would be less time to show ads.

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