Herbie J Pilato: On Commercial Failure

commercialsby Herbie J Pilato

I don’t know when it happened, but it happened – and it’s been bad ever since…

Commercials have taken over the world.

The number of commercials during TV shows has definitely increased.

A recent report calculated there are now 14 minutes of commercials per each hour TV show.

Truth us, it seems worse today than back in the day, because so many of the new commercials are 20 seconds long instead of the old standard of 30.  Which means 3 commercials per minute instead of 2, and over 2 or 3 minutes that really gets offensive.

Of course, too, basic cable shows contain several more minutes of commercials, often in 4 minute blocks, as network sows, which means that the channels that run mostly reruns of old and great series cut the crap out of them (i.e. Like omitting the scenes with Dobie Gillis soliloquizing in front of the “Thinker” sculpture on ye old beloved The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis).

To stay contemporary, most networks and cable channels show commercials even when streaming their own shows.  Usually, they’re shorter, but there are also fewer sponsors, which means we have to sit through the same ones over and over during any given episode.

The only way to get “pure TV” without commercials is to bittorrent what you watch, which more often than not means “pirating” it.

So, it’s Big Media itself that’s driving its audience away.

Interestingly, the UK’s ITV Network just removed all commercials and interruptions from its online streaming, which is a step in the right direction.

But you have to be located in Britain to see it!

Meanwhile, on our side of the pond, “Commercial TV” remains outta (our remote) control.


Author: Herbie J Pilato

Writer, Author, Producer, Actor, Singer/Songwriter, Lover of Life

4 thoughts on “Herbie J Pilato: On Commercial Failure”

  1. Actually commercials aren’t a bother to me. I TIVO (digital video record) everything so I can fast forward thru the hype. I love when the SAME 20 second spot is at the beginning AND end of the commercial break. I guess this incessant pounding of blather influences those that can’t afford a DVR.
    I must agree that the omission of scenes to make room for advertising is despicable.

  2. FWIW, I find it a huge bother to have to fast forward through the commercials. Especially since I always go too far and have to limp back and forth a couple of times. For me the problem isn’t about money but convenience.


  3. I know this one. Look up , and . If you’re feeling frisky: .

    As far as killing/skipping commercials, I’ve got an old ReplayTV (started by the same guy who did Roku) which has an autoskip of 30 seconds, deciding when to do it by measuring gaps in the signal. I was working at a sister startup and got them dirt-cheap.

    Comcast’s DVR will jump back 20 seconds with one programmed button (I don’t know if you can change it) and IIRC, you can program a key to leap forward 30 seconds.

    There is one exception to the Comcast DVR: If you’re in [On Demand] and hit the -20 second jump, it’ll go back 5 minutes (a major PITA if you did it by accident because the FF button in that mode takes almost as long as watching it as regular play speed).

    1. oops. It looks like HTML-like punctuation gets filtered out. The first line above should be:

      Look up [Regan], [FCC], and [Deregulate]; and if you’re feeling frisky, [infomercial]

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