TV Ad Break Intervals

When I watch a movie on TV, I’ve observed that the time interval between ad breaks is not uniform, rather it decreases as the movie progresses. Towards the end, it is almost like the Fibonacci in reverse.

What I mean is when the movie starts, there are no ads for, say, the first 30 minutes. After the 1st break, the next break will then be after 25 minutes. Next, 20. And so on. And finally, when the climax is just around the corner, and you’re at the edge of your seat, you’re bombarded with ads faster than Himesh can spring a new song/music-video on you. Well, you got my point.

What I’d like to know is, is this really true? Have you experienced this? I haven’t checked it out scientifically and Google didn’t help either. Is this:

– True, because advertisers know that the farther you’ve been watching the movie, the more likely you’re watching it with interest, the more likely you have some company also watching it (more eyeballs), the more likely you wouldn’t want to waste any single scene during the climax and thus stick to your seat!


– False, because it is a Temporal Illusion, where the more engrossed we are in the movie, the faster time passes by. Hence, though the ad break intervals remain the same, the intervals appear shorter to us, because the time we watch the movie appears to pass by faster!


4 thoughts on “TV Ad Break Intervals

  1. Found this although it doesnt have answers to your specific doubt. But from personal experience, I feel that since movies are designed to have more suspense points in the latter half, thus providing more opportunities for ads to be inserted.

  2. I think it is true. That is how the network executives should keep their price structure too!
    But I am above all this nowadays. I have DVR at home and it has been a life changing event. No commercials!!

  3. I never quite though of it like that. I don’t have the answer, but I experience the same thing during engrossing movies.
    By the way, I found your site through a link on “Rambodoc at large.” He and I share links. If you get a chance, check out my blog. If you like it, I would love to share links with you also. If you agree, leave me a comment on one of my posts. I find your posts to be very entertaining and thought provoking at the same time.

  4. Another observation: Duration of ads decreases as the movie progresses.
    At least I have experienced it in the movies shown on DD once a week at night.

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