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What Do TV Advertising Revenue Stats Mean? It’s Complicated

April 23rd, 2019   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

In March 2019, MediaPost reported on new analysis from the Standard Media Index showing national TV advertising revenue in 2019 was up 2 percent over January 2017. The top moneymakers were the 76th Golden Globe Awards, reaping $49.4 million in monthly revenue; This Is Us, taking in $18.4 million a month; and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, at $8.1 million. This gain was part of a 7.6 percent uptick in total ad revenues expected in 2019.

Broadcasting & Cable reported that national TV advertising revenue was down 2.4 percent in January 2019 year over year. But wait! That’s partially due to some live programming, including the Grammy Awards, moving from February to January in 2018.

But wait! Forbes said local TV advertising revenue will be up by $1.7 billion next year because of political advertising in an election year.

So what? Ted Turner said, “Life is a game. Money is how we keep score.” For the news media, stats on TV advertising revenue—like all revenue reports—is a facile way to generate a news story. But, if you’re a media planner or buyer, what do gains and losses in TV advertising revenue mean?

TV Advertising Is Still Effective

Television is still king when it comes to reach. For people 35 and older, television is the medium in which they’re most likely to notice ads, according to a Horowitz Research study published on Broadcasting & Cable.

The television landscape is changing rapidly, along with the whole of media. New technologies like automated buying platforms and smart TVs, as well as OTT, streaming, and multiple device use could make these annual comparisons less relevant.

Here’s an idea relevant to media buyers: lower TV advertising revenue could be due to increases in its effectiveness. Thanks to a combination of good planning and better availability of data, advertisers may get the same boost in awareness, consideration, and conversion with a lower spend.

Local Automated Wins

Automated TV advertising platforms can increase this effectiveness. Horowitz found that 44 percent of consumers liked the idea of seeing personalized ads during a TV show that they’re watching.

Adriana Waterston, senior vice president of insights and strategy at Horowitz, told B&C that, by taking better advantage of new technology, big data, and consumer insights, TV can deliver advertising that not only reaches its target audience but resonates in significant ways.

When it comes to special, live programs—must-see TV—local stations can get in on the buzz by offering local spots automatically. It’s a lot of work for media buyers to advertise on this kind of show, but automated platforms let them buy more efficiently and manage their inventories more effectively. For example, smart planning helped wine company Yellow Tail reach 85 percent of Super Bowl viewers by purchasing local slots in 30 markets.

Your bottom line is different from the station’s. In other words, a station’s loss could be your gain.

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