Durations of TV Advertising Slot

The duration of TV advertisements vary, but most TV commercials in the United States today run for 15 seconds. Some commercials run for 30 seconds, while others for only ten seconds. During the 1950s, commercials ran for a minute, but only two were usually shown per break.

Advertisement Lengths in US TV Programs

During the 1960s, an hour long American program would include 9 minutes of ads. That is, the total program running time was 51 minutes. These days an hour long program is only 42 minutes. 22 minutes are devoted to ads (this includes the two minutes of local ads and six minutes of national ads).

Some programs use a 12 minutes ads / 18 minutes program split. In a span of 10 hours, the duration of TV advertisements would be three hours. This is twice the length of the commercials during the 1960s. The old 60s programs shown today are cut to make way for the additional commercials.

Cost of TV Ads in the US

The cost will depend on the program and where it is aired. A 30 second commercial in the Super Bowl football game costs US$2.7 million. The TV show Grey’s Anatomy charged $419,000 per commercial in 2007-08. CSI charged $248,000 per ad during the same season.

Ads in Europe

Most European countries feature longer commercials but with fewer breaks. Instead of the usual 3 minutes for every 8 minutes, it could be six minutes per half hour.

The European Union has the duration of TV advertisements set to 12 minutes for every hour. The segment length is 20 to 30 minutes minimum, although it will vary per program content.

United Kingdom

Airtime permitted on commercial channels is 7 minutes per hour. The limit is 12 minutes for any clock hour. The limit is 8 minutes for every hour from 6 top 11 pm.


The private stations can air 12 minutes of commercials every hour. There should be 20 minutes minimum of uninterrupted programming between the ads.


The duration allowed is 10 minutes per hour.


9 minutes of advertisements are allowed per hour. Two commercial breaks are allowed for shows that are over an hour long. If the show is less than an hour long, a single break is allowed.


In Finland, the ads are aired every 15 minutes.


There are two breaks: the regional and federal. Each break is four minutes. The total is 15 minutes per hour.


There is no limit on the number of commercials that may appear per hour. Because of this, many programs often have more than 18 minutes of ads per hour. People often end up watching less than 40 minutes of actual programming.


Ads are self regulated, but many of the broadcast stations follow the 18 minute per hour regulation set by the Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines.

The duration of TV advertisements will vary in other countries. The rules concerning the ads also varies per nation, and are subject to constant reviews and if needed, revisions.

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