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Cable TV Ratings: TBS and TV Land Networks Compressing Shows to Fit In More Commercials [Watch]

First Posted: Feb 23, 2015 12:40 PM EST
jerry Seinfeld

Photo : Getty

When watching a TV program on cable, a viewer might be seeing a compressed version of the show. The recent finding by the Wall Street Journal shows cable networks are speeding up the TV shows so that they can get in more ads.

Cable channel TBS shows plenty of repeats of "Seinfield." During the show, TBS has been using compression to speed up the dialogue so they can get to commercials faster. Viacom's TV Land channel is guilty of the same practice in their reruns of "Friends," according to the Wall Street Journal.

More and more cable customers are choosing to get rid of their cable subscriptions and use streaming services like Netflix or Hulu instead. Customers who are leaving cable are causing big declines in ratings for cable networks.

Cable networks might be frustrating their current customers even more by cramming ads in their faces. Besides using the compression technique, cable networks are guilty of cutting the opening credits too.

More ads are being seen by customers per every hour of cable programming. Five years ago, the average amount of time per hour of commercials was 14.5 minutes. Last year, it was 15.8 minutes per hour.

Viewers are seeing more quantity of ads too. More companies are choosing to purchase 15 second ads instead of the traditional 30 second ad. This leads to more revenue for cable networks selling ad space.

Cable networks might see a short-term gain from cramming in more ads per hour. In the long term, they might be giving more customers reasons to cut the cable cords and use streaming services instead.

Cable subscribers rose at an annual rate of 6.1 percent from 1995 to 2013, the Federal Communications Commission said. Prices and packages are luring customers into signing up.

With wages not increasing, many cable customers have given up and canceled their subscriptions. If cable networks flood TV screens with ads and speed up programs, more customers could be calling it quits soon.

Watch the video below to see TBS speeding up Seinfeld by 7.5 percent:

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