Commercial and Public Television


There are basically two types of TV broadcasters.

Commercial TV stations are owned privately. They get their money by selling advertising time.  In America, for example, where commercial television has been dominant since the beginning, TV stations broadcast commercials every ten minutes. Commercial TV focuses on entertainment, like soap operas, dramas, game shows and reality television. Many of them have their own talk shows, where guests appear and discuss certain topics. Most commercial TV stations offer short news summaries of the day’s events.

Public television stations are owned either by the government or by non-profit organizations. They get their money by collecting fees from their viewers. But they have commercials as well.  These stations offer their viewers a wide range of programs – documentaries, current affairs programs, cultural and other information programs. They show opera performances, concerts and other big events. In Europe, for example, state-owned TV stations have had a monopoly for many decades. At the beginning of the 1980s commercial TV stations got started in Germany and other countries across the continent.




Television - Table of Contents


Television - Online Exercises


Related Topics



  • advertising = to tell the people about a product or a service you want to sell
  • basically = mainly
  • broadcast = to send out radio and television programs
  • certain = special
  • commercial = advertisement on TV
  • current affairs program = important events that are happening now
  • decade = a period of ten years
  • dominant = leading
  • either … or = one thing or the other
  • fee = the money you have to pay for a service you get
  • focus = concentrate on
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • monopoly =  to have complete control ; no other TV companies are allowed
  • non-profit organization = uses the money it gets to help people
  • offer = give
  • own = if something belongs to you
  • performance = when someone acts in a play , an opera etc..
  • reality television = TV programs that show real people doing real things, or people who are put into different situations in every show; these shows are broadcast over many weeks or months
  • soap opera = a TV or radio show that concentrates on the daily lives of the same group of people every day or week
  • state-owned = run by the government
  • topic = issue, problem
  • viewer = a person who watches television
  • wide range = very many