Getting through the nightly news

We watch very little television. The evening news and football are what we view on commercially driven TV. But, the commercials during the news are nearly too much to endure. Last night, I put a stopwatch on the abundance of commercials.

The bulk of the commercial time was spent on drugs. The pharmaceutical companies, with plenty of our money to spend, took first prize with 6 commercials lasting 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Second place went to banks and financial management companies. If you’d invested your money with any of these money managers they’d have spent your dollars on 4 commercials lasting 2 minutes and 8 seconds. The third place winner was the news. Yes, the station itself gave a self-promotional plug with 3 commercials during the news lasting 1 minute and 38 seconds, all to encourage us to stay tuned or come back and watch more news later – just in case there were other important developments to put us at risk. Or, we were already at risk and had better tune in again before going to bed to learn more details about why. Fourth place winner, losing to the news by a mere 8 seconds was pet ads, selling to the viewer both dog food products and pet drugs.

There were two pure consumer commercials, one for Ford, 28 seconds, and one for Ace Hardware, 16 seconds. I categorized them as pure consumer since the viewer does not need a medical condition to be considered fair game, (such as a sleep disorder, diabetes, opioid constipation, or erectile dysfunction) or need an investment bank (though a loan would likely be needed for the Ford), or have a pet to feed or care for.

The commercial to news ratio was nearly 1:2; for every minute of commercial viewing we were treated to roughly two minutes of news (9 minutes of commercial/ 19 minutes of news – seconds rounded down.)

Some of the money spent on ads by the pharmaceutical companies was aimed at men over 50, or perhaps their partners, with the hope that the company could aid men with erectile dysfunction. The spokesperson in this commercial was always an attractive younger woman in her late twenties or early thirties shown as a possible incentive to encourage the 50 plus-year-old fellows to come hither and get on with business. I am relieved there are no children in my home that might require an explanation of what the sultry women is inviting while languishing on a bed.

We’ve never been big watchers of TV. For a time we didn’t even own one. We do enjoy watching a good movie on our large flat screen TV mounted on the wall. We do love to watch football. The news is sometimes interesting. The price we now pay for those moments of newsworthy reports, the commercials, is about to reach a point where no news will be good news.