By Thomas Van Patten

Doesn’t it ever bother you, when you’re watching TV and seeing commercial after commercial? Don’t you ever wonder why you pay to watch your favorite shows, but really half the time, you’re stuck watching these lame advertisements?

More often than not, you’ll find that this will happen to you every time you’re watching television. If you don’t believe me, the next time you’re sitting in your living room staring blankly at the TV screen, pick up a timer and see how long the “brief break” takes.

With the help of big time companies, your televisions are becoming more revolved around commercials than the actual program itself. This can become quite a problem for TV watchers. Instead of watching all their favorite shows, people are stuck watching annoying commercials that will be replaced with other commercials in a few hours. For every commercial added to a regular program, the shorter that program gets.

Big Spenders

In 1941, the very first commercial was aired. It was an advertisement for Bulova Watches. They payed between $4.00 – $9.00 for this air time. Nowadays, major companies pay a whole lot more. According to CNN’s Katherine Dorsett, “ Today there is a $100,000-per second ad rate that companies pay to showcase their products.” This shows that companies will do anything to get their product out there, no matter the cost: “In 2009, the average cost of a commercial cost around $7,800. But in 2013, that amount increased to $8,900.” This data, from the LA Times, is only for one commercial.

In total, advertisers spent $64 million on commercials in 2009. That figure rose to $78 million in 2013. These stats just come to show how much control big companies have; because all they have to do is convince the public to buy their product.

They do this by throwing their money at the broadcasting companies to air their product. Even though the big companies are spending lots of money, the public is as well. Big companies have so much control that they get the public to buy their product
through the TV.

The Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the most watched television program of the year: but the actual football game is not the main event. Millions of people watch the Super Bowl each year, not for the game, but for the commercials. Let’s face it, if you watched the Super Bowl you’d most likely remember a funny commercial that aired 5 years ago more than the score of the actual game from last year.

The Super Bowl is the best time to showcase your products, because hundreds of millions of people watch the Super Bowl each year. This makes the price for commercials rise steadily. The price for a Super Bowl commercial has increased for the last 40 years.

Even though companies spend millions to advertise their company, they’re not the only ones paying lots of money during the Super Bowl. Studies by the RAMA organization show that “the average viewer will spend around $60”. The RAMA also found that more than 4 million people plan to buy a new TV to watch the Super Bowl. These findings show how companies are getting the public to buy their products through the use of commercials.

Commercials have taken over the Super Bowl. More people now watch the Super Bowl not for the game, but for the commercials. Everybody loves the advertisements so much, that they even rate them for creativity and humor. In fact, the next day, the paper devotes at least 3 pages to commercial reviews.

A typical football game airs for about 3 hours. But the truth is, how much of that time is actually focused on the plays?

Studies performed by the Wall Street Journal shows that on average, out of 3 hours, only 11 minutes is devoted on game action. But they also found that 63 minutes of the program are commercials. That’s almost 6 times more than game time. “The ratio of inaction to action is approximately 10 to 1”. So for every minute of action on the field, 10 minutes are devoted to other things like shots of the crowd and replays.

Game Day

Commercials aren’t just costing companies millions: they are consuming time of the public, in addition to cutting down program times. For every commercial aired, there’s significantly less time the actual, desired programs air.

The number of commercials in a typical one-hour program has increased dramatically during the last 5 years.“In 2009, the average time of commercials in a program was 13 minutes and 25 seconds. The average time of commercials in a program in 2013 was 14 minutes and 15 seconds”. Even though it doesn’t sound like a big increase, for airing time it’s a big deal.

Some people might like watching commercials, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people also might think that commercials are necessary to make it in the business world. ‘How will they showcase their products?’ they say.

Well, there are things called expos and the Internet. Some also might argue that you can use Netflix, so you can binge-watch without the burden of advertisements. However, major online film archives, like Hulu and Netflix, don’t have a lot of shows that you’ll find on regular cable. Additionally, subscriptions to these major businesses also cost the consumer.


Recently, there are ways to avoid watching commercials. Thanks to advances in technology, many people now own something called a DVR. This allows you to record all of your favorite shows, and lets you watch those shows on your own time. In addition, while watching your shows, you have the option to fast forward over the commercials. 

Another solution is to get Netflix or Hulu accounts. With Netflix and Hulu, they have a wide selection of critically-acclaimed shows and movies to watch, 100% free. When it comes to television, everybody loves watching it. It’s practically a necessity in the 21st Century.

Once you introduce someone to a TV, they are hooked for life. Of course, different people have different show preferences. So you’re watching your favorite show, and surprise, the title wave of advertisements comes down upon your living room. Annoying, right? Commercials began to take over television, and control whether or not the person changes the channel.
People nowadays are so hypnotized by advertisements that even their buying and personal habits are influenced by their TVs.

That’s how big time companies get you to buy their products. Commercials. You’ll be sitting on the couch and just be watching commercial after commercial. Fortunately, big-time companies like Netflix and Hulu are working to save the day. In the end, though, the television viewers aren’t controlling the channels.

It’s the companies.

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