Eli5: How do commercials work when it is an unexpected commercial break?

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During the news, the anchor may have to cut directly to commercial.

Is there a giant channel of commercials ready to go that the channel cuts to? How does that work for people who buy time slots for their ads?

How do commercials and tv programs avoid the dead air?

In: Technology

>Is there a giant channel of commercials ready to go that the channel cuts to?

Basically, yes. They have all of the commercial queued up and ready to go at all times during a live broadcast.

>How does that work for people who buy time slots for their ads?

The contracts would specify an approximate time the commercial would air, rather than an exact time. This is common for sporting events, when you know _roughly_ when commercial breaks will happen, but not exactly – so, for example, you might agree to play the commercial during the 1st quarter of a football game during the second stoppage of play.

>How do commercials and tv programs avoid the dead air?

They have plenty of commercials ready to go.

The ad contracts state that they’ll get played at some time. It’s possible it’s set to a specific block of commercials, but more likely it’s just “during this block of programming, we’ll show this ad x times.” So they move through their listing. If they’re worried about running out, they can also show ads from their own shows on the network to fill in the gaps.