A television advertisement (variously called a television commercial, commercial or ad in American English, and known in British English as an advert) is a span of television programming produced and paid for by an organization, which conveys a message, typically to market a product or service. Advertising revenue provides a significant portion of the funding for most privately owned television networks. The vast majority of television advertisements today consist of brief advertising spots, ranging in length from a few seconds to several minutes (as well as program-length infomercials). Advertisements of this sort have been used to promote a wide variety of goods, services and ideas since the beginning of television.
The effects of television advertising upon the viewing public (and the effects of mass media in general) have been the subject of philosophical discourse by such luminaries as Marshall McLuhan. The viewership of television programming, as measured by companies such as Nielsen Media Research, is often used as a metric for television advertisement placement, and consequently, for the rates charged to advertisers to air within a given network, television program, or time of day (called a "daypart").