The Choice of Commercial Breaks in Television Programs: The Number, Length and Timing

This paper examines the choice of commercial breaks by a television network in a monopoly setup. It is assumed that viewers dislike commercials, while the network seeks to maximize the total audience for these commercials through its choice of the number, length, and timing of commercial breaks. The model predicts that commercial breaks become more frequent toward the end of the program, and that the length of breaks is single-peaked. When the television program becomes more popular, the network runs commercials more frequently, and redistributes commercials so that late breaks become longer while early breaks become shorter.