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In broadcasting, a commercial bumper, ident bumper or break-bumper (often shortened to bump) is a brief announcement, usually two to 15 seconds that can contain a voice over, placed between a pause in the program and its commercial break, and vice versa. The host, the program announcer or a continuity announcer states the title (if any) of the presentation, the name of the program, and the broadcast or cable network, though not necessarily in that order. In children's television networks, they are sometimes called external eyecatches due to the resemblance of internal eyecatches in anime and there is usually no voice over, but some bumpers do have a voice over. Bumper music, often a recurring signature or theme music segment, is nearly always featured. Bumpers can vary from simple text to short films.
Most network television shows in the United States (since 1976) no longer use commercial bumpers but some soap operas such as Days of our Lives and The Young and the Restless still use mid-show bumpers. Commercial bumpers are still a common feature of radio. In radio, they are often used during sports broadcasts to ease the transition from play by play to commercial break and back to live action, as well as notify local stations that they should insert their station identification and/or commercials, many times using obscure musical selections of the board operator's choosing. One notable example of commercial bumpers still in use can be found on Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim, whose extensive bump usage has even spawned its own website. Another example of commercial bumpers in radio was their use in syndicated programming; for instance, the radio countdown programs American Top 40 and American Country Countdown feature a series of pre-recorded jingles and other outcues to transition to and from commercial breaks.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, in accordance with then-current FCC regulations that required distinction between programs and commercials, most children's programming bumpers would include the phrase "We'll be [right] back after these messages," except for the bump before the final commercial break, which would usually say, "And now, these messages." In 1984, the FCC significantly relaxed these rules.
Break-bumpers can either be animated or static, and rarely appear for more than two seconds. They are sometimes branded to advertise a special programme or event that will be broadcast on that channel, for example sports matches.
An eyecatch (アイキャッチ aikyatchi ) or internal eyecatch is a scene or illustration used to begin and end a commercial break in a Japanese TV program, especially in anime and tokusatsu shows. The term is used, in Japan, to refer to all kinds of bumpers.
Unlike in American programs, in which bumpers are typically supplied by the network (when they have them at all), eyecatches are almost always produced by the production company and considered a part of the program itself, rather than (or also serving as) a segue into a commercial break. They are typically 2–6 seconds long. Eyecatches for children's programs are often longer and more elaborate, while eyecatches for programming for adults may consist of nothing more than the program's logo against a black background.[original research?]
In the 1990s, commercial bumpers were used by terrestrial television networks. Similar to those in the UK, it is a short appearance of a logo or a slide to remind the viewers the programme watched, which appears before or after breaks. The logo is usually that of the television channel or station being watched and/or of the programme's title. However, as the years passed on until the late 2000s, it is replaced by putting a message that the programme will be back after the break which is now more commonly seen on RTM's TV1 and TV2, and Media Prima's NTV7, 8TV and TV9. TV3 also uses this for sponsored programmes, but as of 2013, they also use it for non-sponsored programs, for example during children's programme. The 1990s bumper style, however, is sometimes used sparingly.
Since 2003, nearly all of Astro's own satellite television channels feature break bumpers that are placed before and after breaks. These bumpers consist of the logo of the aforementioned channels, as well as the now and next slide promoting the current programme being watched and the next one. Also, a bumper, based on the subscription information sequence at the ending of the Astro Box Office promotional trailers from 2003 to 2006, appears in-between commercials and immediately before rejoining back, but not at the beginning of the block of replaced commercials.
In other countries
In Argentina, since around September 2010, it is compulsory for almost all broadcasters to use commercial bumper, using the word "Espacio publicitario" to separate the rest of the programming for advertising.
In Poland, television networks usually separate the rest of the programming with the word "Reklama".
In children's TV networks
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Bumpers or external eyecatches in children's TV networks, and sometimes other networks are like the internal eyecatches used in Japanese anime, with the difference of that being supplied by the network. They usually appear only at the ends of commercial breaks, but sometimes they appear in the beginning of the commercial break as well. Their primary purpose is to alert children that the commercial break is over. There are some with a voice over and some that don't have a voice over.
Often, these eyecatches have a secondary purpose: marketing. YTV is an example; the purpose of the eyecatches in YTV is to help children learn to identify the network and thus increase brand awareness. Most children's television networks have these bumpers because of the reason above.
- Singer, Jerome L. Handbook of Children and the Media (Sage, 2002). 385-386. ISBN 978-0-7619-1955-1.
- An example of Children's TV Network bumpers (old bumpers from YTV)
- Another example of Children's TV Network bumpers (old bumpers from Cartoon Network)