Attention spans, bathroom breaks

Did you know that our water supply faces a minor crisis every month or so? The reason might surprise you.

If there’s a big sports playoff game – or a popular TV series – viewers wait until commercials to take a bathroom break. Multiple flushes at about the same time strain local sewage systems. A bathroom break lasts approximately two minutes.

During those two minutes several commercials run. Some last 15 seconds, some last 30, some last a minute.

Once, I sat down to randomly record commercial length. Here’s what my semi-scientific survey found:

If you count “commercial programming” as anything that’s NOT the show you tuned in for, the average break is TWO minutes. Some are slightly longer, some shorter, and some – in addition to commercials – carry “tease” promotions of shows to come.

Why two minutes? My guess is, that’s the maximum attention span a viewer is willing to commit before focusing on another subject.

Published by

Rix Quinn

Rix Quinn is a former magazine editor and now a syndicated columnist for over 100 weekly newspapers. He holds degrees from Texas Christian University and California State University.

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