Long commercial breaks and the Pacquiao fight

Posted: October 8, 2007 in All in a day's work, Not-so-serious
Tags: , ,

Like most people, I am happy that Manny Pacquiao won his  fight against Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera.  And like most people, I was terribly pissed off with the excruciatingly long commercial breaks during the entire broadcast of the fight and even the under card matches.

One example how patently stupid the commercial breaks are was during the singing of the national anthem. The fight ended by lunch time and so the TV broadcast was already delayed. But the promoters of the show here in the Philippines saw it fit to subject their captive TV audience with a deluge of commercials. There was a commercial break after every national anthem sung (I saw two anthems sung. Someone told me three anthems were sung.) Even before the actual fight starts, at least three commercial breaks were aired.

The question we ask, are there limits to these awfully long commercial breaks that take away the fun from watching the match. For those of us who do not have an extra P200-300 for viewing the match “live”, we have no choice but watch the fight on TV. Of course we can always listen to the radio, but that doesn’t even come close to the excitement of watching the match on TV, where you can actually see the fighters and punches they land.

Is it ethical for a TV station or a cable program to be showing too much commercials to the point that it ruins the TV viewing experience? Is there no limit to the number of commercials that these networks can air? How many commercials are they required to show so that they can make a clean profit? And how many commercials beyond that can be considered too much? Is it simply corporate greed that drives these networks to make TV hell for consumers? In the end, who are responsible? Is it just GMA7? or SOLAR sports? What’s the NTC doing by the way?

There was as time when I was irked that ABS-CBN also showed too many commercials during their airings of the Pacquiao fights. When it was GMA7’s turn to air the fights, I was pleasantly surprised that they showed two rounds in succession, that there were no long commercial breaks for each round. That was then though. Last Sunday, GMA7’s coverage (at least the one I saw because I wasn’t watching SOLAR on cable), showed the same abnormally long breaks as the previous carrier of the Pacquiao fights.

Network executives will try to justify the long breaks by saying that they have to earn a profit. (Though none of us have actually seen how much these networks make during the airing of the match.)  The networks will try to explain that they shell out a hefty sum to mobilize satellites and personnel and what not so that we can enjoy the match in the comfort of our living rooms.

True. But one thing they may have overlooked over time was the word “enjoy”. One can’t help but ask if the networks still have our “enjoyment” as a major consideration in the airing of these matches. Or were they were ever a consideration at all.


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