Disney’s CEO Thinks There Are Too Many Commercials on TV

When people talk about why they became a cord cutter TV commercials is often ranked right up there with the cost of pay TV. Over the last few years the number of commercials has slowly increased to the point where some 1-hour TV shows have 20 minutes of commercials.

It has even been reported that the average cable TV subscriber will watch 160 hours of commercials in 2017. It seems many Americans are not a fan of spending over 6 days a year watching commercials.

Now Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, the parent company behind channels such as ESPN and ABC, agrees. “I think that, in general, there is probably too much commercial interruption in television,” he told investors on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

Disney identified two specific channels for which it plans to cut back. In the earnings call Bob Iger said Disney will specifically look at lowering ad load on ABC and ESPN.

The only question is will cutting back on commercials change anything for the dwindling viewership, especially on channels such as ESPN. The simple fact that Disney is talking about cutting back on commercials is a sign that everything has changed.

After many years of doing everything to put more ad space into shows to flip it around to fewer ads is a fundamental change at the ground level. It is even likely that other networks will be forced to follow suit in an effort to not be left behind. Disney is often seen as a trendsetter when it comes to ad sales.

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  • tommyr

    Thanks Captain Obvious! Spike TV is another heavy commercials channel. ever watch “cops”? 2 minutes of program then commercials. Rinse and repeat. It’s sick.

  • Norman

    No Sh*t.

  • Frank Drebin

    That’s why I usually just buy season passes on Vudu for the current TV shows that I watch on a regular basis.

  • Frank Drebin

    For what it’s worth, watching a show the next day on the ABC Roku app apparently has shorter commercial breaks than when I watch the same show live on PS Vue.

    • supervolt

      If you watch on PS Vue on Apple TV, you can skip commercials.

      • Frank Drebin

        You can’t skip commercials while it is playing live.

        I can skip commercials on FireTV and Roku if I DVR it, too…that wasn’t the point of my post.

        AppleTV sucks..I have one..it’s garbage in my opinion

        • supervolt

          We’re not talking about watching live. You were talking about watching it the following day. Of course when watching the next day, they reduce ads – if that’s what you’re talking about. Actually if you watch like a week later, you’ll probably get just one ad for each commercial break.

          If you were talking about watching live, that has nothing to do with Apple TV or PlayStation Vue. You’re always going to have equal length of commercials when watching live regardless of the platform.

          • Frank Drebin

            I CLEARLY stated that watching on-demand next day had fewer commercials than “when I watch the same show LIVE on PS Vue”.

            So YES….I did compare it to watching it live.

            And again…the reason I made the comparison was also clearly stated

            You are arguing over a non issue

          • supervolt

            Your intended meaning was compromised by referring to specific products like Roku, PlayStation Vue and even ABC as if they affected the argument. It made it sound like there was something specific about those when the reality is: On Demand content usually has less ads than Live TV regardless of the network, device or platform.

            It’s like saying you “eat on Tuesdays” when you intend to say you watch TV every day. Even though true, it would make it sound as if you only eat on Tuesdays or there’s something special about you eating on Tuesdays.

          • Frank Drebin

            Then the proper response to my post would have been that “On Demand content usually has less ads than Live TV regardless of the network, device or platform”.

            But instead, you like to try and make more out of it then you need to.

            That’s why I usually ignore you and every post you make.


            I agree with you that supervolt needs to be ignored. He has THOUSANDS of posts. I distinctly remember one where he said if his brothers hog the media devices in the house he falls asleep watching stuff on his iPad. Leads me to believe he still lives with his parents, definitely does not have a job.

          • Frank Drebin

            Hahaha..yeah…I remember that

          • Frank Drebin

            And I watched the show live on Vue….which is why I stated Vue…it doesn’t “compromise” my meaning. It was a statement of fact regarding my experience

          • supervolt

            look, next time, let’s just say “there are usually less commercials on demand than when watching live.” thanks.

          • Frank Drebin

            If you don’t like my comments, then don’t read them.

            I know you THINK you have to get involved in every discussion, but you really don’t.

            I actually had you blocked so I didn’t have to read your pathetic whining all the time, but then you had to go comment on my post so I had to unblock you.

            Really sad that the block doesn’t work like Facebook does…..it would be nice if we were just invisible to each other.

            So I’m just going to back to having you blocked now…

            Have fun

  • supervolt

    I don’t expect any dramatic changes. By cutting down on ads, they’ll probably cut less than a minute. So, this is not a game changer by any means.

    Disney Channel and Disney Junior don’t have ads (besides promoting other Disney shows and stuff). No other network has adopted this model. So, expecting this to make a difference is false hope.