Broadcast and cable networks donate an average of 15 seconds of airtime per
hour to public-service announcements, according to a study released Thursday by
the Henry F. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
"Whether you think the time donated to PSAs is a lot or a little to expect
from the television industry, it's definitely an uphill struggle to reach the
public and have an impact with the amount of time available," KFF president Drew Altman said.
That number represents less than 0.5 percent of all airtime, the KFF
said, while commercial advertising and promotions fill 25 percent of all
airtime. Nearly one-half of donated airtime (43 percent) falls between the hours of
midnight and 6 a.m.
Conversely, 9 percent of donated media is aired in prime time -- the hours
between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST. More than one in three (37 percent) PSAs deal with
issues related to children, while more than one in four (27 percent) are on issues
related to health.
The KFF conducted the study by analyzing 1,680 hours of programming on 10
channels -- the top four broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC;
Spanish-language channel Univision; and cable networks Cable News Network, ESPN, MTV: Music Television,
Nickelodeon and Turner Network Television.
Univision donates the most time to PSAs, some 48 seconds per hour, while
cable networks average seven seconds per hour.
The broadcast networks average 17 seconds of PSAs per hour, but that amount
falls sharply in prime time, to five seconds.