Tuesday, October 3, 2023


June 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

A New York Times report earlier this week that PBS is planning to break up its “pods” of acknowledgements — essentially commercials — at the end of each broadcast, distributing them instead into its programs at roughly every 15-minute mark, is already beginning to generate controversy. PBS maintains that the move is not intended to raise additional funding from corporate sponsors and is aimed at holding onto an audience that often tunes out when the acknowledgements begin — sometimes taking as long as eight minutes to complete. But Time magazine media commentator James Poniewozik wrote today (Wednesday) that the real threat “is to the flow and structure of the programming. … When you design a show around ad breaks, you have to build in mini-cliffhangers or moments of tension to keep your audience around through the commercials; if you have a straight 50-odd minutes to tell a story, you are freer to structure those minutes however suits your purposes best.” On Tuesday, PBS President Paula Kerger, attempted to reassure PBS affiliates about the move. noting that “the amount of our content would remain the same. PBS would continue to offer 53+ minutes of content per hour versus less than 40 minutes for commercial television, a significant difference.” She promised to test the new commercial policy on just one night a week. “We will see what happens with total audience size for each show and for the entire night. We would monitor minute by minute to see how audiences recover through the breaks and flow from show to show. And we will carefully analyze viewer feedback.”