More Breaks in NBC’s Games, Not More Ads

In social media NBC has been getting pounded by tweet complaining about how many commercials are airing during coverage of the Olympic Games from Rio

NBCU executives have speculated that the viewer backlash against clutter is partly caused by the proliferation of commercial-free or low commercial environments from streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, which have been siphoning off cord-shaving and cord-cutting millennials.

Kantar Media confirms that so far the number of commercial minutes during the Olympics has not risen, but points to more frequent breaks as creating the perception of more spots.

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Kantar calculates that through seven days, NBC has averaged 15 minutes and 37 seconds of advertising per hours of Olympic coverage, down from 15:38 a year ago from London. The commercial time includes national and local paid ads and network and local station promotions.

During its normal prime-time programming, NBC typically airs 16-17 minutes’ worth of ads per hour.

Related: Inside the Olympics Ad Blitz for NBCU Shows

But Kantar finds that those spots are airing in more-frequent if shorter pods. It finds that NBC has been averaging 7-8 ad breaks per hour. That compares to 5-6 per hour in dramas, comedies and reality shows on NBC

.”Perception may be more important and enduring than reality, but commercial monitoring data are an objective basis for evaluating what is actually happening. We’ve analyzed our data in two ways, tabulating both the amount of ad time and the number of commercial breaks in NBC’s prime time telecasts,” said Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media. “Both dimensions can contribute to viewer perceptions of commercial intrusion.”

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.