Commercial Loads Rose in November

The amount of commercials in TV network programming rose to 10.9 minutes per hour in November from 10.7 minutes, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research.

Several networks have been talking about reducing commercial loads in order to make their programming more attractive to viewers, who are being lured away by commercial-free alternatives like Netflix and over-the-top video sources, which often have fewer, shorter breaks.

According to Wieser, commercial loads were down at networks run by Time Warner, Scripps Networks Interactive and 21st Century Fox.

Viacom, which has been talking about lowering the amount of commercials in some new programming on some of its networks, was up for the month.

Wieser said that total use of TV across the whole day was up 0.2% for households but down 0.9% for adults 18 to 49. In primetime, households were down 0.9% and adults 18-49 were down 1.6%.

The growth in total TV use was mostly powered by viewing on internet-connected devices, which was up 71.2% among households and 61.5% for 18 to 49s. Viewing on internet-connected devices had an 8.4% share of viewers 18-49, up from 5.1% a year ago.

C3 ratings—the metric used to buy and sell commercials—among adults 18-49 was down 3.2% from a year ago in total day and down 4.5% in primetime.

Among the big media companies, NBCU had the largest share of commercial impressions. Discovery and Scripps had increases in their share of C3 ratings, compared to a year ago.

Fox News, Hallmark Channel, CNN, MSNBC, Hallmark Movie Channel and VH1 increased their commercial impressions during the month, compared to a year ago.

Networks with significant audience losses included CBS, TNT, AMC, BET and TBS, Wieser said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.