by Andrew Bucklow
DID anyone else struggle to decide what TV show to watch last night?
As viewers we were really spoiled for choice by the three major networks. Australian Spartan kicked off on Channel Seven (how about those lads in the pink shorts?), Ryan finally snapped on Nine's Married At First Sight and David Oldfield got booted from the jungle on Ten's I'm a Celeb (what a flog).
If you're as indecisive as me, you probably picked one show to focus on and then had a cheeky flick around in the ad breaks hoping to catch the best bits from the other shows.
But quite frustratingly whenever the show I was watching went to an ad break last night and I flicked around, the other shows were also playing ads. F**k!
I went to bed fuming that I'd been outsmarted by the TV networks and in a sleeping pill-induced haze it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps we, the viewing public, are victims of a conspiracy with each of the major channels working together to prevent us from getting a glimpse at rival shows.
It turns out I was wrong.
According to a TV insider, ad breaks airing at the same time on different networks is coincidental rather than because of any collusion between the networks.
"The networks have a certain amount of airtime that they're allowed to play ads for each hour," the insider told news.com.au. "I think it's 13 minutes per hour from 6pm to 10.30pm."
But here's where the TV networks get a little bit sneaky.
"They only have to show an average of 13 minutes per hour between those four and a half hours so they tend to load up the ads in the high rating programs where they can charge a premium for them and then later in the night, say from 9.30 to 10.30, they run less ads that hour so they can make the requirement in terms of the average.
"With the big reality shows, such as Married At First Sight or I'm a Celeb, you'll find that the first ad break usually won't air until 15 or 20 minutes into the program," the insider said. "That's so they can get you hooked before going to ads for the first time."
All of the TV networks think the same and that's why the ad breaks are often at the same time, according to the insider.
"Last night you essentially had three reality shows and the breaks weren't totally in sync and they don't try to be in sync, but they usually end up roughly at the same time."
So there you go. There's no deep state conspiracy ... or maybe that's what they want us to believe?
FYI - Married At First Sight won the ratings last night with 1.53 million people tuning in. Australian Spartan pulled in 816,000 and I'm a Celeb raked in 707,000 for the elimination of Oldfield (I mentioned he's a flog, right?).