Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cable Television Ad-whacking

In the Come Monday edition [Digital to Analog], I talked about converting videos digitally-recorded off of the internet to an analog format so that they could be recorded on VHS tapes for my mother-in-law.  Well, I also set up the computer we have hooked up to our television to digitally-record shows we have on VHS tapes.  This was accomplished through the [Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3] converter.

I also re-recorded onto the computer some of the shows we were keeping on our DVR to watch later (and watch over and over again, in Arlynda’s case).  For the Roxio converter can record anything playing on the television it is hooked up to.

Well, it was while editing (cutting out the commercial advertisements) some of those shows that I noticed something that struck me as being rather odd.  For at the beginning or end of one complete commercial would sometimes be a snippet from another completely different commercial.

Oh yeah, that had my curiosity piqued.  So, I started trying to pay close attention to what was going on during ad-breaks while watching current programming, and I found that what I am calling “ad-whacking” happens a lot.  The following video should give you an idea of what I am talking about.

Did you catch the ad-whacked World Wildlife Fund commercial between the Mattax-Neu-Prater and CNN ads?  It was very quick.  So, I made the following video with the speed slowed way down after showing the sequence again at regular speed.

I wound-up recording 271 ad-whacks in anticipation of this becoming a big deal.  The following ad-whack of a Gerber Life Insurance commercial is a more typical example than the WWF one.

Alas, all of the hours I spent recording and editing ad-whacks appear to be for naught.  For I have yet to receive a single response back from the advertisers I attempted to contact.  Oh, and the ad-whack examples I had for them were all documented by showing on the screen the time, date and what show it occurred.  The advertisers I attempted to contact were Gerber Life, Rosetta Stone,, Southern New Hampshire University, The Art Institutes,,, World Wildlife Fund and, and there are many more I did not try to contact after getting the hint.

So, is it that those businesses just do not care about their commercials being ad-whacked because of having so much money to spend upon advertising or is it just part of placing ads on television?  After all, time must be made for local advertisements, and ad-whacks usually happen before or after a local commercial is inserted into the national mix.

I do not know.  For all of my questions concerning what is going on have been left unanswered by those who just might know, and I have grown tired of pursuing the matter.

I stopped recording ad-whacks last summer and returned to zipping through commercial breaks as usual.  I still notice an ad-whack here or there every once in a while, and I have been seeing it happen more frequently on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC lately.  Whereas, I rarely caught an ad-whack on the main network channels back when I was trying to pay close attention.

What came as quite a shock to me is that ad-whacks appeared to happen the most frequently on CNBC.  For I would think that a business channel would be tightly focused upon their own good business practices.

In all fairness, it may not be CNBC’s fault.  For it may very well be more in the hands of the individual cable companies and local television stations to produce advertising blocks.

Back when I was still trying to be serious about pursuing this, I asked my sister-in-law (with DirecTV) to record a six-hour segment of Animal Planet, which is a channel we also have access to through Mediacom Cable.  I also recorded the same six-hour segment and then compared the advertising blocks.  What I found was that when the advertising blocks occurred was set by the network while the content varied between what was broadcast on DirecTV and Mediacom.  Most of the blocks had the same commercials at the same time, but different ones were whacked at the different times, with the biggest difference being virtually no local advertising on DirecTV.  Their ad-whacking involved inserting commercials for other programs on DirecTV while Mediacom had a lot of advertisements for local businesses.

Whether or not ad-whacking and some other things are simply a matter of sloppiness or something sinister is set for next week.  I can imagine you being hardly able to wait—right? 

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  1. I haven't noticed this problem. but now I'll be paying more attention and looking for it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Stephen!!! I would be very interested in learning if you notice any or not. I was convinced that the problem was strictly due to Mediacom having such a hard time doing anything as right as they could, but finding it also going on with DirecTV blew that out of the water.

  2. I've often been told that I'm a bit whacked.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Ann!!! I wasn't going to say anything. Well, at least not at this time.

  3. Saya dari indonesia.. salam kenal yah.. semoga sukses.:)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Rahmi!!!


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