4As and ANA Officials Express Frustration and Concern

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ORLANDO ( -- Media companies aired record amounts of advertising-message-choking TV clutter last year, according
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to an annual study of the subject.

The AAAA/ANA 2001 Television Commercial Monitoring Report, also known as the clutter study, shows record levels in certain dayparts. However, prime time showed a small decrease in clutter, according to the findings.

Released at media conference
The results were released today at the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Media Conference in Orlando, Fla.

"Clutter" is non-programming content, including national and local ads, public service announcements and other promotions. In written statements distributed here, executives for the 4As and ANA expressed frustration that as clutter continues

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to rise it hinders the ability of advertisers and agencies to make their messages stand out.

The study monitors six dayparts; three set records for clutter: early morning, where the average of 18:02 minutes per hour in 2001 was up from 17:44 in 2000; daytime, where 20:57 was up from 20:03 in 2000; and local news, up to 17:10 from 17:05.

Prime time decrease
The prime time decrease -- down to 16:08 from 16:17 in 2000 -- saw clutter in the evening hours reach its lowest level since 1998. Prime time was the only daypart to post a decrease.

All of the big four networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox -- had clutter levels within a minute of one another in prime time. CBS saw a 26-second increase in its hourly average, while ABC, the least cluttered prime-time network destination, saw no change.

The report was based on clutter tracked by Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR for two separate weeks last year: May 14-20 and Nov. 12-18.

Most cluttered
In the syndication market, Hollywood Squares and Wheel of Fortune ranked as some of the most cluttered shows. On cable, Fox Family Channel, now ABC Family Channel, was the most cluttered in May with an average of 17:54 minutes, while E! led the pack with 17:31 in November.

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