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What does a commercial cost?

By Marc Arturi

Costs for commercial time are controlled by many different factors: the network, the length of the spot, time of day in which the commercial is aired, supply and demand and size of the zone in which it is aired.

Most advertisers run for 30 second-commercials, although some opts for 60-second spots. And a few clients choose 15-second "book ends" in their 15-second ad opens a break; another spot(s) run in the middle; and their 15-second ad is the last in the commercial break.

A book-end commercial comes at a premium - up to 30 percent over regular costs.

Commercials can cost as little as $2 each in some overnight spots, $6-$18 each during daytime (5 a.m. to 4 p.m.); and $10-$80 each in primetime, depending upon the network you choose.

Special events and sporting events command separate rates.

Best advice: Spend enough to get results. Because of the variables involved, "enough" can only be determined by working with your sales rep.

For more information on cable TV advertising, check out the Web site of the Cable Advertising Bureau (CAB), This Web site provides information on answering a broad range of advertiser questions.

You can also make contact with CAB 212-508-1200.

Marc Arturi has been selling advertising for almost 20 years. He was one of the first cable television account representatives in the Midwest. Currently he is senior account Executive at Comcast Spotlight in Chicago. He can be contacted at

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