Caveat Viewer

A door opens to more TV ads

The U.S. Department of Justice has moved to let the marketplace decide how many TV commercials viewers will have to endure an hour. For 30 years the National Association of Broadcasters (N.A.B.), the industry's leading trade group, has operated under a code that kept the lid on both the frequency and the length of commercials. Although the code was voluntary, the members of the N.A.B.—which include the three major networks and their affiliates, as well as most of the independent stations—have, by and large, adhered to it.

Among other things, the code said that advertising during...

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