Comparison of Programming to Advertising Content
Purpose or Problem
The purpose is to determine if there is more advertising content per hour during the day than during an hour of evening prime-time viewing (8 P.M. to 11 P.M.).
Advertising is important. Commercials inform us of sales and new products that may be of help or enjoyment to us. Ads can also let us know how to save money. Nevertheless, sometimes TV advertising seems to take up a large portion of the hour compared to program content time. On average, is the percentage of commercial-to-program content higher during the day than compared to the night? And is that average consistent among the various channels?
Hypothesize that more TV commercials are run per hour in the daytime than in the evening.
- Stop watch or a watch with a second hand
- VCR with blank video tape
- TV with cable-channel accessibility
Collect data on the amount of commercial (advertising) time during a typical hour of daytime programming (2 P.M. to 3 P.M., for example) and a typical hour of prime time (8 P.M. to 9 P.M., for example). Collect this data over a five-day period, Monday through Friday. Add the data and divide by five to find a daily average.
If you are not home during the day, use a VCR with a timer set to record from 2 P.M. to 3 P.M. Then, when you get home in the evening, you can watch the program and collect your data.
Because some channels are only seen over cable, and some channels are also broadcast over the airways, data must be collected on both and averaged together. Collect data (day and night) for a cable channel (Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, CNN Headline News, and so forth), and one for an over-the-air station (ABC, NBC, CBS). Average the results together.
Graph your results for presentation, using a computer program.
Write down the results of your experiment. Document all observations and data collected.
Come to a conclusion as to whether or not your hypothesis was correct.
- What is the average length of time of a commercial spot (15, 30, or 60 seconds)? Compare the ad-time lengths during the day, the evening, and between cable channels and the big over-the-air networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS).
- Can you think of ways to use the time during commercial breaks, other than going to the kitchen for a snack? A gallon water jug could be filled (or partially filled to weigh less) to be used during commercials as a dumbbell for getting mild exercise during commercials.
- The data you collected is baseline data, which someone could use five or ten years from now in a comparison. Can you find out if someone gathered this data ten years ago? If so, compare it to your data.
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