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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 fifteen seconds in length 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. On 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 feature one. Bumper music, often a recurring signature or theme music segment, is nearly always featured. Bumpers can vary from simple text to short films.
Since 1976, most network television programs in the United States no longer use commercial bumpers; although some soap operas such as Days of Our Lives (which stopped using one in 2010) and The Young and the Restless, as well as the game show The Price is Right, still feature 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 usage of bumpers 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.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, in accordance with then-current regulations set by the Federal Communications Commission that required a distinction between programs and commercials, most children's programming bumpers would include the phrase "We'll be [right] back after these messages" (or variations of it), except for the bump before the final commercial break, which would usually say, "And now, these messages" (or variations of this phrase). The FCC significantly relaxed these rules in 1984, although to this day some networks still air these bumpers, particularly during programming that airs Sunday nights at 7 PM/6 PM Central that is not a news or information program such as 60 Minutes. Another common bumper phrase was "And now, a word from our sponsor."
Break-bumpers can either be animated or static. They are sometimes branded to advertise a special programme or event that will be broadcast on that channel, such as sporting events.
Break-bumpers can also be either animated or static information bars that appear for a few seconds, with program title and the logo of the television channel being watched. These are more often seen after a break and sometimes followed by information bars that show what programme is coming next or later.
In Japan, 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 television program, especially in anime and tokusatsu shows. The term is used, in Japan, to refer to all kinds of bumpers.
In many television series, eyecatches are contemporaneous into the climax of a story, leading onto speculation during the commercial break.
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 two to six seconds in length. Eyecatches for children's programs are often longer and more elaborate, while eyecatches for programming intended 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 United Kingdom, it is a short appearance of a logo or a slide to remind the viewers of the programme being aired, 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, this changed to feature a message that the programme will return after the break ends, 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, it also uses them for non-sponsored programs, such as children's programmes. The 1990s bumper style, however, is sometimes used sparingly.
Since 2003, nearly all of Astro's 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 a slide promoting the current programme being broadcast and the next programme scheduled to air. Bumpers based on the subscription information sequence seen at the end of Astro Box Office promotional trailers from 2003 to 2006, appear in-between commercials and immediately before the program break ends, 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 a commercial bumper, using the words "Espacio publicitario" (Commercial break) to separate the rest of the programme from the advertisements.
In Poland, television networks usually separate the rest of the programming with the word "Reklama" ("Commercial").
In Russia, networks like Channel One and Russia 1 use the commercial bumpers as they appear as a one-off bumper. Channel One used the commercial idents as sting thru November 2004 to 31 August 2011 , As they started to use the short-lived commercial ident package called "The Four Seasons" which ran thru 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2012 , In these commercial idents the music was actually mostly classical with piano and violins, As they started to use the current commercial ident package "Clocks" which featured three separate piano pieces "Morning" (September 2012 to September 2013) and the popular "Noon" (which is the one that is the current piano piece should be used to this day) and "Night" (which they have started to use in 2016) they also used the 3-note piece as their three commercial idents debuted in 2012 and used the 3-note piece. In the international versions of these idents, They have used the information about to suggest an commercial. But networks like NTV use the commercial idents as an intro and outro idents. One of the famous commercial ident from NTV is the "Rectangle on the NTV" which has been used as an ident thru 6 September 1998 to 31 May 2001. Which in these idents feature the NTV logo being in an rectangle-shaped scope. At the beginning of each idents, the reminiscent of the commercial idents from 1996 or 1994. In the end of the commercials, flag and a part of the ident is shown. Another one is the short-lived one used from 1 June to 8 September 2001. Which in these commercial idents show the metal soviet pieces from 1980s and 1990s. Basically new year idents of Channel One are always festive. starting with 1995 when the famous things of Christmas should be shown like Santa Claus and Christmas Tree and especially Spasskaya Tower. 1996 shouldn't have a festive offering but logo is in snow. Starting with 1997, new year commercial idents are born. First of them would be the one with a snowman doing something weird. These commercial idents are ran from 24 December 1997 to 11 January 1998. Some of the most memorable new year commercial idents from Channel One we're the 2008 one. which features a Christmas tree with cards being animated. This one was ran thru 22 December 2008 to 11 January 2009 and returned in 21 December 2009 to 10 January 2010. Which the 2010 one had an inspiration from A Trip to the Moon featured an rocket's adventures in Moscow. For some reason the commercial idents did not have the word "реклама" when it was uploaded to Vimeo. Actually in the TV version did have the word "реклама". This ran from 20 December 2010 to 10 January 2011. But the Channel One had brought back the 2008 one in December 2011, Only difference is that the scope is now in 16:9. And the 2008 ident had being repeated in 2012 and 2013.
Bumpers on children's television
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Bumpers or external eyecatches on children's television networks, and sometimes other networks are similar to the internal eyecatches used in Japanese anime, with the difference being that the bumpers are supplied by the network. These usually appear only at the end of commercial breaks, but sometimes leading into the start of the break as well. Their primary purpose is to alert children that the commercial break has ended. Depending on the network, the bumper may or may not feature a voice over.
Often, these eyecatches have a secondary purpose: marketing. Canadian network YTV, for example, uses them to help children learn to identify the network and thus increase brand awareness. Most children's television networks run these bumpers because of this reason. From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s periods, Nickelodeon in conjunction with branding firm Fred/Alan, Inc. created 225 bumpers, some featuring catchy doo-wop jingles recorded by a cappella group The Jive Five.
- 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)