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Fox is the first network ever to surpass the 15-minute per hour level of prime-time TV clutter, according to the ad industry's '94 Television Commercial Monitoring Report.

The study found that Fox's clutter in May 1994 rose 5.3%, to 15 minutes, 13 seconds from 14 minutes, 27 seconds in the same month a year before.

But the network's clutter level dropped to 14 minutes, 56 seconds in a subsequent November 1994 measurement also included in this year's report. That's up 2.4% from November 1993, when Fox's clutter totalled 14 minutes, 35 seconds.

The report was conducted by Competitive Media Reporting for the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers.

TV clutter is defined as all non-programming time, including commercials, PSAs, promos, station IDs and programming credits.

Overall, most TV outlets are trending upward in clutter from previous reports.

The four broadcast networks saw average prime-time non-program minutes rise since last year, increasing 34 seconds in May 1994 to 14:15, up 4.1% compared to the same period a year before, and increasing 30 seconds to 14:20, up 3.7%.

Prime-time commercial minutes also increased in May and November 1994, compared to the year before periods.

The Big 3 all posted higher numbers than last year with the exception of CBS in November, which dropped 0.7% to 13:47.

In other findings, non-program minutes swelled in every daypart. Daytime broadcasts on the Big 3 contained the most clutter, with 18:52 in November, up 0.4%.

Fox currently doesn't program daytime or late night.

In the syndication market, informational programs had the most non-program minutes, totaling 18:55 in November, up 5.2%. Game shows averaged 18:05, down 6.6%.

Among cable networks, the Discovery Channel finished in first, clocking a 16:41 in November, but that was down 3.8% from a year ago.

The clutter king of prime time: Fox's "The Simpsons," which timed 18:31 of 1-hour equivalent time in May 1994. In November 1994, Fox's "Martin" topped the clutter chart with 17:43 of 1-hour equivalent clutter.

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