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Running Time for TV Commercials

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James Habitan
Running Time for TV Commercials
on Jul 18, 2017 at 4:39:11 am

I know it's acceptable in broadcasting for commercials to various running times (15s, 30s, 45s and 60s), depending on what is being made.

As an editor for television promos, that is what I have to keep in mind when creating promos for a client.

At the moment, I'm having a creative dilemma because I have a current project where I have to create a commercial to promote an on-air Q&A contest the client is holding. The problem lies with the client's insistence we go for a 55-second promo instead of making it a full 60-seconder because they think that the length of the latter is "too long".

Here's a breakdown of the promo in question:

00:00 to :05-Intro/Call-to-action
00:05 to :12-Contest mechanics on how to "fill in the blanks" on a dialogue from the scene in question
00:12 to :30-Scene in question
00:30 to :42-Bumper showing possible answers for viewers to choose.
00:42 to :54-Instructions on how to send entries
00:54 to :60-Closing bumper

The client wants to the scene in question have the scene, and they further added that 60 seconds for a TRT is too long. After doing as instructed, I manage to reduce the scene by about 10 seconds but the total running time ended up being 6-7 seconds shorter. I can only extended the closing bumper by one more second or else, there'll be dead silence before the running time could reach to 55 seconds.

I can perhaps add a little something to bridge that gap even though if it'd mean compromising the over-all quality of the commercial.

At the end of the day, the promo, by broadcast standards, is undertimed.

So should I fight for it to keep it 60s? Or give in to the client's insistence of making it 55s? I apologize for sounding erratic over what could be perceived as a trivial matter to many.

Thank you.

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Tom Matthies
Re: Running Time for TV Commercials
on Jul 21, 2017 at 4:20:17 pm

I doubt that you could even get a broadcast facility to accept a 55 sec. spot. Must commercials are sent via FTP sites and many are automated when spots are uploaded. If your spot is anything but 60 seconds to the frame, it will likely be rejected just for that alone.
I've never heard of anyone trying to air a 55 second spot. It makes no sense and no broadcast station is going to have a 55 sec. slot to run it in. It would require them to, at the very least, fill in the remaining time with????

Tell your client that it's a dumb idea...nicely of possible.

Not my monkeys. Not my circus.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Running Time for TV Commercials
on Oct 18, 2017 at 8:35:17 pm

He's right. One option I might suggest is to make the spot 45 seconds long, then add a 15 second fake ident or PSA "bumper" to it. Fulfills the 60 seconds but looks like a 45 and a 15.

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Justin Toney
Re: Running Time for TV Commercials
on Oct 22, 2017 at 4:19:21 am

Never in my 11 years in the broadcasting industry have I ever seen a 45 second commercial.

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James Habitan
Re: Running Time for TV Commercials
on Aug 17, 2018 at 12:41:57 am

Hi guys. So here's an update about a year on. I have so far not heard much complaint about running times on their end as far as I'm concerned so I'm not as bothered now as I was then. They may have been able to find ways so that this won't be an issue for them.

Thank you very much for the advice.

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