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TV Advertising Costs

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TV advertising is a specialist field and one that can be confusing to those starting out. That’s why we at the TV Agency wanted to help advertisers find the information they need, information that will help them to make the best decision, when considering TV advertising as part of their media mix. Below, we have listed some of the factors that are important when planning TV advertising costs and then have compiled a table of regional costs on ITV1, as a sample of potential TV advertising costs.
Because TV advertising costs are based on a number of factors (each of which we have aimed to explain as comprehensively as possible below) it’s worth understanding how each affects your budget and plans. If however, you already know the ins and outs of TV advertising, but are looking to better understand regional and specific time slot costs, you can find up-to-date example figures further down this page.

Here are the factors you need to be aware of when planning your advertising campaign spend:

The number of Viewers or TVRs (television ratings) – Put simply, this is a percentage of your potential audience who will see your advert. They are your buying audience (usually defined by age groups and gender) in the region or regions in which you are advertising. For example, Coronation Street on ITV Tyne Tees might deliver 10 Adult TVR's. Your potential Adult audience in Tyne tees will be roughly 2.4 mill so 10 TVR's would be 10% of 2.4 mill, so you actual number of viewers who watched your advert would be 240k Adults in the tyne Tees region.

CPT, or Cost Per Thousand – This is the cost to reach a thousand viewers for your region and specific buying audience, for the month you are advertising in. Because CPT varies by month based on supply and demand, September to November can be very expensive with the lead up to Christmas, whereas January-February is relatively cheap. More importantly your buying audience can also increase the cost. For example, adults aged between 16 and 34 (referred to as ADS1634) are in high demand but short supply, making them an expensive audience to target. You can also work from a fixed CPT with some broadcasters, which would be quite common for a national DRTV (direct response campaign).

Time length – The time length is just that, the length of time your advert will appear onscreen in the region in which you are advertising. The standard length is 30 seconds, which has proven to be the most cost effective. The majority of all TV adverts are 30 seconds, but you can utilise 10 or 20 second adverts depending upon your creative. Keep in mind however, that a 10-second advert will not cost a third of a 30-second slot, in fact, they are generally around 50% of the cost, as most of a 30-second ad’s value lies in those first 10 seconds.

Deals – The discounts that have been negotiated as part of the deal also varies depending on how you buy your TV advertising. It’s likely that you will pay premiums for specific peak spots around popular programmes or high peak campaigns, but in most cases, you will get larger discounts for buying airtime in daytime only, also know as DRTV, direct response.

Potential viewers – Also called ‘the universe’, potential viewers covers the total buying audience that is available in the region you’re buying advertising space in. For example, the adult universe in Tyne Tees is 2.2 million, with an average of 10 TVRs per peak spot. That means that 10% of the audience, or 220,000 adults, would be likely to see an average peak spot ad.

With all of that in mind, here are some example TV advertising costs for ITV1 regions. These examples look at a 30-second premium spot in Coronation Street for adults and a daytime advert in This Morning. Both examples target adults, but the spot in This Morning comes with a daytime discount whereas Coronation Street comes at a premium.

We have also included a plan for a week of TV for each ITV1 region, because you’re more likely to buy at least a week of TV advertising.

ITV1 Region Cost for Coronation Street peak spot avg ratings plus premium Costs For This Morning daytime spot avg ratings with daytime discount Cost for a week of TV advertising with natural dayparts ( avg of 5-6 peak spots and 10 – 12 off peak)
Tyne Tees £1,770 £162 £7,142
Yorkshire £4,023 £369 £16,232
Yorkshire Emily £2,584 £237 £10,425
Yorkshire Belmont £1,439 £132 £5,804
Granada £5,649 £518 £22,793
Border £377 £35 £1,523
Central West £6,213 £590 £30,081
Central East £2,654 £252 £12,849
Wales £1,884 £179 £9,121
HTV West £1,418 £135 £6,868
West Country £1,047 £99 £5,068
Anglia East £1,903 £180 £10,240
Anglia West £2,006 £189 £10,793
Meridian Hampshire £2,897 £274 £15,587
Meridian Thames Valley £2,054 £194 £11,051
Meridian South East £1,938 £183 £10,427
London (Carlton/LWT) £11,008 £1,032 £66,620
STV Edinburgh £1,120 £93 £4,517
STV Glasgow £2,333 £194 £9,415
STV Aberdeen £801 £67 £3,234
STV Dundee £394 £33 £1,589
UTV £1,102 £92 £4,445

Below is an example TV advertising costs for a national campaign across some sample SKY channels in daytime only. As we've mentioned previously TV advertising costs are based on how many viewers see your advert. Because of this, the cost between channels varies greatly as the average number of viewers on a small channel such as VH1 is going to be very different to a more popular channel such as SKY Living therefore the cost varies greatly. Normally with a daytime campaign you would choose your channels based on your target audience and then calculate the cost depending upon how many viewers you wanted to reach. These costs are based on a 60 second advert since there is a lot of research to support that a 60 second commercial is more effective in daytime direct response advertising.

Channel Daytime rate for Adults, against AVG ratings, cost per 60" advert Cost for 2 adverts per day, over 4 weeks Monday to Friday, based on AVG ratings, 40 TV ads
SKY Living £100 £4,000
CBS Action £167 £6,680
DMAX £10 £400
SKY News £404 £16,160
SKY Football £57 £2,280
Discovery Shed £13 £520
Food Network £133 £5,320
Discovery Turbo £27 £1,080
National Geographic Wild £13 £520
VH1 £3 £120

Here are the factors you need to be aware of when planning your advertising campaign spend:

We can also supply costs for SKY, Channel 4 and Five etc, but costing isn’t as simple as it is with ITV. This is mainly because you would normally run a combination of channels for an effective campaign, whereas ITV1 delivers much higher viewing figures and can be bought across micro-regions to deliver a high impact in small areas. Viewing figures are smaller across digital channels and you can only advertise nationally, meaning low impact, UK coverage that requires a longer campaign. This can be very effective for campaigns where cost per response is very important.

If you would like to see maps for each region are or would like further information please contact us on the details below.

At The TV Agency, we generally work 1-2 months in advance, although you can book later (sometimes as late as on the day) if you have an advert ready to transmit and are willing to pay premiums, as charged by the broadcaster.

We also have a system for booking TV campaigns to monitor ROI. We use this data and generate reports twice weekly, to ensure you get the highest return on your investment. Please keep in mind that this is only a short guide to TV advertising costs. In fact, it’s only the tip of the ice berg!

You can also find more useful information on each broadcaster here,

And for leading research on TV advertising visit


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