Turn on the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell and with a little bit of war, gasoline prices, and budget woes, comes a gawd awful lot of commercials. Watch a streaming service like AMC Plus, and with Law and Order you get ads out your legal hardbacks; or watch the Andy Griffith Show and get so many ads, you want the channel to bring back Rawhide so the young Clint Eastwood could be spliced into the ad slots instead of so many adverts. Anything but more campy commercials. Wouldn’t that be a new way to watch classics—short vignettes during the would-be defuncted ad time?
Some people are turning off the oft admired boob tube (aka idiot box, flat screen) for paid streaming without commercials like Netflix or flipping the channels to find a local PBS station like Rocky Mountain PBS. Sadly, even PBS is adding more fodder to their incognito commercials including Viking River Cruises, Ancestry, IKEA, Google, Raymond James, Mint Mobile, and Target. The list is even longer on their web site: https://www.sgptv.org/pbs-sponsors.
Other small screen connoisseurs sharpen their wits on the free streaming app: PLUTO. Yes, it has almost every channel you could ever want but don’t want to pay an eye and a finger for or even a fingernail for. It has separate channels for NBC Dateline, CBS 48 Hours, Midsomer Murders, Classic TV, even John Wayne Westerns, Classic Movies, Romance, sports, Spanish language channels, too. Even bits and pieces of CNN run an exclusive CNN channel with Pluto. Overall, they allotted huge segments for commercials.
According to MediaPost.com “Fox Television Network and the Fox News Channel run the most commercials time per hour among the respective broadcast and cable network categories.” CNN, NBC, and onward all play somewhere around 20 minutes of 30 second commercials during a one-hour show. Back when black and white screens dotted the American viewing homes, only about 8 minutes of every hour was thrown to hungry-crocodile like commercials.
A business professor once schooled me that every commercial is about money. It’s about getting the viewer to understand the message and see a need to buy their product; and so, going from 8 minutes of ads 1952 to almost 20 minutes in 2022 is about gathering more money for the executives and products. Others have also pointed out that in other countries the need for greed is not so rampant. The number of commercials is not as copious as in the United States entertainment industry.
Until the powers of the E industry slack up a bit on commercials, a lot of us will be turning the channel, buying a streaming service without commercials, and getting our way to watch a documentary, romcom, sci-fi, or even a western without so much as a “brought to you by.” We will pause the video when and if we want, not when dictated by a commercial laden industry. And for those who might be stuck with commercial television, there’s always that phone call, bathroom or snack break that moves us away from the boob tube.
Let me interrupt the conclusion of this column with a reminder—perhaps even an ad—to join Dr. Laura Hays at “Paint-In for Ukraine: Donations for refugees.” At the paint-in, she will have blue and yellow paints, and cozy nooks to paint and share. The event is scheduled TODAY Saturday April 2nd and TOMORROW Sunday April 3rd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Location is 122 ½ Alamosa Avenue, Alamosa, CO 81101. For more information, call her at 303-912-0932 or email her at [email protected]
Nelda Curtiss is a retired college educator and long-time local columnist. Reach her at www.columnsbynellie.com or email her at [email protected]