The article attributes the rise to shortened attention spans, which it in turn attributes to the Internet. Maybe. But let’s not rule out other possible factors. Like, duh, we’re in a recession, and airing a 15 costs half as much as airing a 30.
And now for a pet peeve. The article talks about viewership, not about sales. Direct response marketers—you know, the people who actually track sales—won’t even think about a 15-second spot. Most won’t have anything to do with a 30, either. That’s because we know from tracking (something our branding cousins generally don’t do) that you need at least 60 seconds to send viewers to the phones. That’s if you want them to inquire. More if you want them to call you with a credit card in-hand.
A recent TiVo test revealed that when viewing pre-recorded programs, people zip right past branding commercials. Care to hazard a guess as to which commercials viewers still stop to watch? Two kinds: movie promos, and direct response spots.