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A promo, shorthand for promotion, are a form of commercial advertising used in broadcast media, either television or radio; promos are generally used to promote a program airing on a television station, radio station, television network or radio network. The usage is to try to bring a showing to a specific set of people.
Promos typically run a standard length of about 30 seconds, though occasionally some can at times last as short as five seconds or as long as 90 seconds. Most promos commonly consist of select clips of segments from an upcoming program (television or radio series, film, event, etc.), however some television promos (particularly for an upcoming television series) utilize a monologue format in which a star or host of the program breaks the fourth wall. Most radio promos utilize this format as well, with a host of the program discussing the show itself, though some feature audio clips from past editions of the radio broadcast. Television station newscasts promote (a) select news segments to be featured in an upcoming newscast, such as an investigative report or special-interest feature piece.
Information is typically provided displaying the airdate and time of the program's broadcast as well as the name of the station it is set to air; local broadcast television stations until the mid-1980s, this usually involved simply displaying text showing the date and time, along with the station logo on the bottom of the screen (this is due to the fact that unlike with broadcast and cable television, promos for broadcast syndication do not display airtime information, allowing for television stations to add the day and time of the broadcast themselves), however, stations have since begun to utilize posterized graphics that either cover the program logo at the end of a promo for a syndicated program (and in some cases, promos for commercial networks such as Fox and The CW) or allow the end of the promo to be shown in a box surrounded by the graphic.
Premium cable channels and other commercial-free television networks traditionally do not accept normal commercial advertising, thus allowing them to broadcast programs uncut and without interruption, breaks between programs instead primarily use promos to advertise upcoming series and these promo breaks can, at times, be of a longer duration than a normal commercial break with traditional advertising included.
See also