According to a study by Nielson, commercial load has increased steadily over the years.
• In 2013 the broadcast networks average commercial load was 14 minutes, 15 seconds. While in 2009 the same was 13 minutes, 25 seconds
• In 2013, commercial load for cable television was 15 minutes, 38 seconds. While in 2009, it was 14 minutes, 27 seconds
Also, number of smaller duration ads has increased over the years.
• In 2009, 62% of television ads were 30 second duration; In 2013 it has decreased to 53%
• In 2009, 35% of television ads were 15 second duration, now they have increased to 44%
The increased commercial load translates into more money. However the rise in commercials also leads to increase in clutter. The viewers may also lose interest and the ads will not serve the purpose.
When the viewership of a particular channel falls, the ad revenue it generates also falls. In such cases channels might resort to increasing commercial load to maintain their revenue. Such a move was done by Viacom in 2012. However it can backfire as increase in ads may further lead to decrease in viewership and hence further decrease in revenues.
Another challenge is with technological advancement and ability to record television programs to view later, ads can be skipped with fast forward buttons. With increasing penetration of internet and growing availability of series/movies online, viewers are more likely to turn off their television sets and switch to these mediums if ad clutter increases beyond a limit.