Television commercial data wanted for cool research!
January 28, 2007 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Does anybody know where I can get at a timeslot database for television commercials? (Preferably free or cheap). I'm not interested in viewing the commercials; I'm more interested in constructing bipartite co-occurrence networks between television programs. For example, I want to analyze what commercials are paired up with what other commercials (in that they air for the same shows), how many commercials share a given pair of programs, etc. -- and then making some inferences from the network.

If I can't find any data for this, I'm also interested in finding television commercial transcripts and constructing word occurrence networks, and drawing (a different set of) inferences from them. Also, television needn't be the medium I analyze; if anyone knows of any other databases for other media, that would just be great!

This is for a project for one of my classes, and I'm considering expanding it into full-time research.
posted by SilentSalamander to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
One company I know of that has access to the timeslot information from all the networks is Information Resources, Inc., which uses the information in test market situations. They do not list the database among their products, and they may be restricted from releasing it. (They use it to substitute local test commercials for national commercials from their client firms. A few details here.) But if you can interest them in your research they might let you at it.
posted by beagle at 1:57 PM on January 28, 2007

I doubt the big media buying places (OMG, Mindshare, Zenith, Carat, Starcom, MediaVest, etc.) will share this type of info with them. it's basically their trade secret. but perhaps nielsen will. they are about to start commercial tracking services (who watches what commercial how often).
posted by krautland at 2:12 PM on January 28, 2007

Competitrack's service tracks what aired in what pods during what programs. Of course that is not free or cheap and isn't really set up for that type of analysis. It is geared for "where did my client's ads run, where did my client's competitor's ads run". Subscribers tend to be the media buying [krautland's list except I think he meant OMD] or full-service ad agencies. But they have storyboards of all the ads -- hard to parse the transcript except by hand -- and know what ad ran during what show.

Note even if you had access to this type of data, your data could get polluted with things like run-of-schedule, remnant and national advertisers running during local avails. That Taco Bell commercial you saw during the prime time show could have been purchased to run just then, a make good, a run-of-schedule order, or it could have just ran in the city that was being monitored.
posted by birdherder at 2:35 PM on January 28, 2007

The Television News Archive at Vanderbilt has "810,000 records of national news programs including regular evening newscasts" - the listings give the program segment information, and list the commercials that are played in between segments.

It is free to access the search, but you have to register.
posted by acridrabbit at 6:58 PM on January 28, 2007

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