Ads Swamp Reality TV
The amount of commercials on Australian TV has long been a woe of watching free-to-air networks, interrupting movies, TV and reality shows with mind numbing ads, repeated at ever increasing intervals.
Up to one third of the total programs time on such popular TV shows are now made up of advertisements, Mumbrella reports, which are very close to breaking the code of practice networks are expected to abide by.
In fact, several networks appear to be exceeding the 14 minutes allowed by regulators, on timeslots between 6pm and midnight.
There are now as many as seven ad breaks on any given night on some of these shows, that may last around 90 minutes.
Reality shows are the worst offenders including The Voice and Masterchef. However, Foxtel is also upping its ad breaks, the report suggests.
“The major reality franchises for Seven, Nine and Ten shows indicates all three have been running more than the permitted 14 minutes stipulated in the Commercial TV Code of Practice,” the report states.
“Nine’s The Voice is the worst offender with a program on May 5 running 29 minutes and 10 seconds of advertising in an 1 hour 37 minute program.”
The Voice had 2.5 million viewers on average on Sunday 25th May last, while 1.5 million tuned into House Rules Reveal, according to Free TV stats.
However, Channel Ten won the prize for screening the single longest running ad – at just one second under 5 minutes, according to the Mumbrella data.
The TV networks are getting around the regulations by placing more ads in key time slots, between 7.30pm to 8.30pm and 8.30pm to 9.30pm, and less after the program ends.
TV advertising is a big business – and major retailers like Harvey Norman, Wesfarmers and Woolworths spend billions on TV advertising, targeting reality show viewers of The Block, Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules to sell appliances and food.
Harvey Norman spent $34.3 million on TV ads in 2012 – which accounted for one quarter of its total ad spend.
Analysts believe TV networks are placing more on reality shows because of the “exciting peaks and troughs” mean viewers will stay tuned in despite interruptions, but say if it was on regular TV shows it would be a “turn off”.
And considering 63% of people surveyed by TV Tonight said Reality TV was the genre they were most sick of, network may be skating on thin ice with viewers already fed up of seeing contestants sweat over an undercooked chicken dish.
So, are consumers sick of being swamped by ads turning to PVRs in a bid to escape?
Not particularly, says Richard Tassone, Panasonic General Marketing Manager, Consumer Electronics.
He says skipping ads isn’t the main reason consumers buy a PVR or DVR player.
“People do want to skip ads, but its not the main [use of PVR’s], its the convenience of being able to record shows” which can be watched later.
“We don’t promote ad skipping,” when marketing digital recorders, he added.
Humax released a set top box that specifically skips ads, which first went on sale in 2011, which have proved popular among consumers and is one of its “best sellers”, a company rep told Smarthouse. It now sells three ad skipping models in the Aussie market.