NON-PROGRAMS: Where the Time Goes

Along with positive news on the clutter front in the Network Television Association’s latest report on ‘non-program time’ on network TV, there’s an intriguing glimpse at the balance between national and local advertising on the Big Three networks. Total non-program minutes on ABC, NBC and CBS (whose interests the NTA represents) declined last year in six of the seven dayparts measured (the odd daypart out: early morning), according to Arbitron MediaWatch data for a week in November ’92 versus a week in November ’91. Which sorts of non-program time accounted for the overall decline? Network commercial time fell in five of the seven dayparts, and the catchall ‘other non-program time’ – including network and local promos, station ID’s, credit overruns, trailers and whatnot – fell in six of the seven. But local-commercial time actually rose in five of the seven dayparts, declining only in weekend-afternoon sports and the Sunday-morning informational periods. In the late-night slot, local commercials actually moved ahead of national commercials (by a margin of 14 seconds per hour) as the largest non-program element. Of course, network commercials still outnumber local spots in most of the dayparts. In primetime, for instance, network commercial time declined as local increased, but that still left a count of 7 minutes 19 seconds per hour for the former versus 1 minute 48 seconds for the latter.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)