Study: Public Service Spots Scant

WASHINGTON — Television and cable networks donate only 15 seconds of airtime to public service announcements, and 43 percent of that time is during overnight hours, according to a new study released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The study, which analyzed paid and unpaid PSAS on ten different channels — including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and cable networks such as CNN, ESPN and MTV — found that public service announcements account for under one half of one percent of all airtime, compared with 25 percent given to paid ads and promotions.

“PSAS have been critical to groups trying to reach the public on issues from putting on seatbelts to putting out cigarettes,” said Drew Altman, Kaiser’s president. “Whether you think the time donated to PSAS is a lot or a little to expect from the television industry, it’s definitely an uphill struggle to reach the public and have an impact with the amount of time available.”

The study, “Shouting to be Heard: Public Service Advertising in a New Media Age,” was released at a seminar held in Washington.