TV Advertising Costs

 

 

The TV Agency can help:

Perhaps you’ve arrived here because you’re looking to find out more about TV advertising costs? Or maybe you currently use TV to advertise your business, but need a little help with an idea of costing and how best to plan your budget? 

TV advertising can seem both confusing and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

The TV Agency can help. Whether you’re a small brand, a new business, or an established company, we can talk you through your options and get you up and running. 

Let’s take a look at the costing example below as a starting point. 

It covers regional costs on ITV and some National Digital channels. It’s followed by a few suggestions to consider when budgeting and best of all, a quick look at how a TV advert can actually cost you NOTHING! Zero, Nada, Zilch!

So, how much does TV advertising cost in the UK? 

It’s a question we’re asked every day and there is no single answer. So instead we’re going to offer some guide prices that should help you to understand how much TV advertising costs. 

But first, let’s get started by explaining some common industry terms that could be confusing.

TVR or Television rating. This is how TV audiences are measured and then bought by agencies. 10 Adult TVR’s for a national UK TV campaign equates to 10% of the potential Adult audience in the UK. The current potential Adult audience size is around 51 mill, so 10 TVR’s would equate to 5.1 million views.

Universe. So not like space, this relates to the potential audience size for a given audience and region. So for example in the North East/ ITV1 Tyne Tees region, there is a universe of 2.2 million Adults. That’s your Adult population size and potential audience if you targeted Adults in the Tyne Tees region.  

CPT or cost per thousand. In digital they use CPM but in TV advertising we use CPT but essentially they’re the same thing. It’s the cost to reach a thousand viewers of your targeted audience and region. The average cost per thousand for 2019 for buying Adults in the Granada region was £6.52, this varies by month and audience and region.

Time length refers to the length of your advert. 30” or 30 seconds is the standard length of a TV advert in the UK and most commonly used. Smaller time lengths are not as cost efficient. Longer time lengths are often used for direct response campaigns. Time lengths are generally multiples of 10 seconds. But you could run a top and tail advert (two adverts in the same break) of 15 seconds each, giving a total length of 30 seconds.

The reality is that TV advertising can cost as little as £3 per advert or over 100k. Which is quite a range. 

So how can an advert cost £3 or 100k? It’s mainly based on the number of viewers who see that advert. 

For example:

An advert on a small digital channel such as BT Sports 3 for an advert in daytime against Adults and has average viewers of say only 1,500, meaning the cost per advert can be as low as £3 per 30” advert. 

At the same time, you could have an advert in Britain’s Got Talent across ITV1 nationally in peak, the cost per 30” advert in April 2020 delivering 14 TVR’s against Housewives with kids would be approximately £55,196. This can be bought regionally though and prices vary from £279 for the ITV1 Border region to £1,377 on ITV1 Wales to £19,352 on ITV London Weekend Television.

It’s worth mentioning that these prices are significantly cheaper than in previous years due to COVID-19.

What this shows you is that TV advertising can be done on small and large scales depending upon your marketing goals.

Below we’re going to break down costs by the three main sales houses for TV advertising in the UK, ITV, SKY & Channel 4.

You may also be interested in addressable TV advertising or digital video which are fast becoming an important part of TV advertising which we also cover further down this post.

About TV Advertising on ITV

ITV sales is the main sales house for the ITV family of channels, IV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, and ITVBe. Most people don’t realise that ITV1 as a main terrestrial channel can be broken down into different regions so you can geo-target your TV advert, for example, Tyne Tees, covers the northeast of England. This also makes TV advertising costs on ITV1 far more affordable especially with some of the smaller regions. 

For example:

The TV Advertising costs on ITV1 Border in Coronation St can cost as little as £131. At the same time, the same spot on ITV1 Carlton covering London could cost £7,486.

ITV also offers some of the largest digital channels in the UK such as ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, and ITVBe which can only be advertised nationally across the UK. Although viewing is smaller on these channels the cost per advert can also be quite low. 

TV advertising Costs for ITV

These are example TV advertising costs for different 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.

Prices are based on July and advertisers should be aware that pricing changes monthly based on demand, at the time of writing, July 2020 prices are down roughly 50% YOY due to COVID so in previous years the costs would have been roughly double what is shown here. TV advertising prices change based on demand.

These costs are for information purposes only and do not constitute an offer capable of acceptance.

Here is a breakdown of the average cost per 30” advert in Coronation Street by ITV1 region including a premium based on delivering 10 Adult TVR’s (TV Ratings or 10% of the potential audience) for that region. 

 

Tyne Tees  (Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, etc) £755

Border (Carlisle, Dumfries, etc) £131

Yorkshire Emley (Leeds, Sheffield) £1,081

Yorkshire Belmont (Hull, Lancashire) £602

Granada (manchester, Liverpool) £2,556

Central West (Birmingham) £3,185

Central East £1,361

Wales (Cardiff) £1,058

HTV West (Bristol) £788

West Country £577

Meridian Thames Valley £1,156

Meridian South Coast (Southampton) £1,631

Meridian East £1,091

Anglia East £1,001

Anglia West £1,055

Carlton (London Mon to Fri tea time) £7,486

LWT (London Weekend) £13,245

STV Glasgow £1,049

STV Edinburgh £503

STV Aberdeen £361

STV Dundee £177

UTV (Northern Ireland) £463

 

There are 22 different regions across ITV1 that you need to advertise across to buy a national advert as listed above.

 

The TV advertising cost for a national ITV1 spot in Coronation Street is £41,313, based on the info above.

 

For daytime only the average cost per 30” advert in This Morning by ITV1 region including a discount for daytime only based on delivering 2 Adult TVR’s (TV Ratings or 2% of the potential audience) for that region. 

 

Tyne Tees  (Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, etc) £95

Border (Carlisle, Dumfries, etc) £16

Yorkshire Emley (Leeds, Sheffield) £136

Yorkshire Belmont (Hull, Lancashire) £76

Granada (manchester, Liverpool) £322

Central West (Birmingham) £401

Central East £171

Wales (Cardiff) £133

HTV West (Bristol) £99

West Country £73

Meridian Thames Valley £146

Meridian South Coast (Southampton) £206

Meridian East £137

Anglia East £126

Anglia West £133

Carlton (London Mon to Fri tea time) £943

LWT (London Weekend) £1,669

STV Glasgow £132

STV Edinburgh £63

STV Aberdeen £45

STV Dundee £22

UTV (Northern Ireland) £58

 

The TV advertising cost for a national ITV1 spot in This morning is £5,205, based on the info above.

 

But most advertisers are not going to buy a single advert in the daytime or peak. A TV campaign normally consists of several adverts. Most agencies normally work to 100 TVR’s (TV Ratings) as standard for a week of TV although this could be spread over two weeks or even a month in some instances, it depends upon your marketing goals.

 

Below is a cost per 100 TVR’s by ITV1 region including an avg discount. 

 

Tyne Tees  (Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, etc) £6,269

Border (Carlisle, Dumfries, etc) £1,086

Yorkshire Emley (Leeds, Sheffield) £8,971

Yorkshire Belmont (Hull, Lancashire) £4,996

Granada (manchester, Liverpool) £21,215

Central West (Birmingham) £26,435

Central East £11,297

Wales (Cardiff) £8,784

HTV West (Bristol) £6,537

West Country £4,788

Meridian Thames Valley £9,597

Meridian South Coast (Southampton) £13,541

Meridian East £9,056

Anglia East £8,312

Anglia West £8,760

Carlton (London Mon to Fri tea time) £62,138

LWT (London Weekend) £109,936

STV Glasgow £8,703

STV Edinburgh £4,178

STV Aberdeen £2,994

STV Dundee £1,469

UTV (Northern Ireland) £3,841

 

The TV advertising cost for a national ITV1 campaign for 100 TVR’s is £342,901, based on the info above.

 

About TV advertising Channel 4

Channel 4 sales is the main sales house for the C4 family of channels (C4, E4, More4, Film4 etc) as well as representing some of the UK Living network channels (Dave, Yesterday, Gold, Eden) and also the BT Sports channels. 

Channel 4 also has some regional opportunities for TV advertising although these are more limited than ITV1, you can target London or Scotland or the North of England as a few examples on the main terrestrial Channel 4. 

TV advertising costs on Channel 4 can range from £50 for a daytime advert targeting Scotland or £2,640 for a national advert in peak times against Adults ABC1.

Channel 4’s main difference is the number of partner channels they work with where you can buy TV advertising through them. DAVE, Yesterday, W, Eden, Gold, BT Sports to name a few as well as their own, owned digital channels E4, More4, and Film4 which gives you lots of options for some quite big channels which are all mostly Freeview channels, meaning most people in the UK have access to them. Compared to most SKY channels which are only available through a subscription service. 

TV Advertising costs for Channel 4

These are example TV advertising costs for different Channel 4 regions and Partner Channels. These examples look at a 30-second 

These costs are for information purposes only and do not constitute an offer capable of acceptance.

For daytime only the average cost per 30” advert on Channel 4 by region including a discount for daytime only based on delivering 0.5 Adult TVR’s (TV Ratings or 0.5% of the potential audience) for that region. Based on July 20 costs, again worth noting that COVID means these are far lower than usual. TV advertising prices change based on demand.

 

C4 North £106

C4 Midlands £109

C4 South £189

C4 London £215

C4 Scotland £50

C4 Ulster £13

 

There are 6 different macro-regions that makeup Channel 4 that you need to advertise across to buy a national advert.

 

The TV advertising cost for a national daytime advert on Channel 4 is £638, based on the info above.

 

For a peak time advert on Channel 4 you have to buy against what we call a sub demo audience, in this example that would be AABC1 or Adults ABC1, sometimes described as upmarket Adults. 

 

The average cost per 30” advert on Channel 4 by region including with no discount for a peak time spot, based on delivering 2.2 AABC1 TVR’s (TV Ratings or 2.2% of the potential audience for AABC1) for that region. Based on July 20 costs, again worth noting that COVID means these are far lower than usual.

 

C4 North £1,433

C4 Midlands £1,477

C4 South £2,436

C4 London £2,640

C4 Scotland £758

C4 Ulster £181

 

The TV advertising cost for a national peak time advert on Channel 4 is £8,602, based on the info above.

 

Through Channel 4 sales you can also advertise with some of the larger Freeview channels. If buying an all-time campaign again you have to buy against what we call a sub demo audience, in this example that would be AABC1 or Adults ABC1, sometimes described as upmarket Adults. 

 

The average cost per 30” advert with no discount for a peak time spot, based on delivering 0.29 AABC1 TVR’s for a Channel 4 owned channel – More4, E4, Film 4, would be £1,119.

 

The average cost per 30” advert with no discount for a peak time spot, based on delivering 0.1 AABC1 TVR’s for a Channel 4 Partner channel – Dave, Yesterday, W, Eden, etc would be £386.

 

The average cost per 30” advert discounted for a daytime time spot, based on delivering 0.09 AABC1 TVR’s for a Channel 4 owned channel – More4, E4, Film 4, would be £92.

 

The average cost per 30” advert discounted for a daytime time spot, based on delivering 0.0.08 AABC1 TVR’s for a Channel 4 Partner channel – Dave, Yesterday, W, Eden, etc would be £61.

 

It’s worth noting that avg viewing figures do vary by channel. Based on July 20 costs, again worth noting that COVID means these are far lower than usual. TV advertising prices change based on demand.

 

It’s difficult to give a cost per campaign across these channels, as this varies by every advertiser depending upon your marketing goals and target audience. Usually, you would use a mix of these channels and either advertise in daytime only or across all dayparts. Realistically this means you should start with a budget of at least 20k across these channels.

About TV Advertising on SKY

SKY Sales manages advertising for 172 different channels such as SKY1, Discovery, SKY News, MTV, SKY Sports and SKY Cinema all of which can only be bought nationally across the UK. TV advertising costs on SKY can range from £3 for daytime advert up to £20,000 for a national advert in a premium SKY Sports match.

SKY’s main difference is the sheer number of channels they work with and each channel tends to appeal to different unique audiences, meaning you can target specific audiences as part of your marketing strategy. 

SKY News for example appeals heavily to those interested in finance and business. 

Some of the smaller channels because of their low TV viewing figures can be bought very cheaply, especially in the daytime only, where a spot on Discovery might only cost £20 for a 30” advert.

TV Advertising costs for SKY

These are example TV advertising costs for a few different SKY Channels. These examples look at a 30-second advert in the daytime. Prices & TVR’s based on May avg for Adults against a fixed price discount. 

It’s worth noting COVID means that these prices are reduced against what they would normally be. TV advertising costs are based on market demand.

These costs are for information purposes only and do not constitute an offer capable of acceptance.

Channel 5 – £295

5USA – £58

CBS Reality – £109

Challenge TV – £35

Discovery – £20

Discovery Turbo £6

E! – £10

Forces TV – £15

HUM Europe – £3

MTV Hits – £5

Pick – £95

Quest – £84

SKY 1 – £43

SKY News – £200

 

These are example TV advertising costs for a few different SKY Channels. These examples look at a 30-second advert in peak buying against a sub demo audience of AABC1. Prices & TVR’s based on May avg with no discount. 

These costs are for information purposes only and do not constitute an offer capable of acceptance.

Channel 5 – £2,465

5USA – £238

CBS Reality – £1,052

Challenge TV – £949

Discovery – £310

Discovery Turbo £112

E! – £156

Forces TV – £265

HUM Europe – £485

MTV Hits – £98

Pick – £4,097

Quest – £6,257

SKY 1 – £6,392

 

As you can see the price of daytime adverts and peak across these channels can vary greatly as the audience delivery can vary greatly. And to advertise a whole campaign you would advertise across several channels. 

 

You may also consider buying a cheaper audience to reduce your costs, there are 27 different audiences to choose from, such as Adults ABC1, known as upmarket or affluent adults to Men 1634, Men aged 16 to 34. 

 

The more difficult an audience is to reach and the more demand to advertise to that audience makes it more expensive. Broad Adults is the cheapest standard audience to buy but some channels that are smaller or have niche targeting won’t necessarily allow you to buy this audience. 

Did you know a TV advert can cost nothing? Too good to be true?

Let us explain:

 

Once your advert is up and running, and buying a rating’s campaign you only pay for how many viewers watch your advert. By placing your advert on a smaller digital channel, the slot can register a zero viewing figure, meaning less than 1,000 viewers have seen it.

Zero viewing figure = zero cost!

Don’t panic! It doesn’t mean no one is watching, it means people are watching, but the audience is too small to register. Using this spot will cost you nothing, but if it generates a trackable response, such as a call or web visit, then what an excellent rate of return! We can supply costs across all channels such as ITV, Sky, Channel 4 and Five etc, but costing isn’t as simple with digital channels.

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 the cost per response is very important.

How long to advertise for?

There is no minimum commitment for a TV campaign. You could advertise for only one day and one spot if you chose! But generally, TV advertising, like any advertising works best, the longer and more of it, you do.

Some regional advertisers can see results quite quickly, although often we’d start with at least a two week campaign. An example would be a two week sale offer or discount which would drive footfall to a store location.

For a national advertiser, normally a month is the minimum you’d advertise across although if you advertise across larger higher impact channels, spending more, you could reduce this.

Addressable TV advertising

Addressable TV advertising or programmatic TV advertising is quite big in other countries and is growing in the UK. The SKY AdSmart platform allows advertisers to target viewers based on 1st and 3rd party data. Giving you targeting options such as those with pets. Those retired. By postcode or city. Age of kids or how many. As well as Mosaic and Experian audiences. So many that its not possible to go through them all in this post. 

 

But this now allows any advertiser to target their specific audience. So some advertisers that may have discounted TV previously because of its mass audience reach are now being able to use similarly to their digital advertising campaigns by targeting very specific audiences based on all sorts of options. 

 

There are some limitations and a targeted audience similarly to buying against a sub demo audience is naturally more expensive. TV advertising, in general, can cost as little as 0.5p per view but addressable campaigns are closer to 2p+ per view. For the right advertiser though, even this premium will deliver fantastic results.

Digital video advertising

Digital video advertising or Broadcaster VOD (video on demand) has seen huge growth recently, with audiences up as much as 30% month on month. Lots of viewers nowadays will watch TV on demand through a smart TV or service to catch up on shows they’ve missed or to choose what they want to watch when they want to watch it, giving them greater flexibility. 

Now unfortunately you can’t advertise on Netflix or Amazon Prime but in the UK, the ITV Hub, All4 and SKY Go are the biggest broadcaster platforms with YouTube the largest overall. Because viewers are watching their favourite TV programme digitally, broadcaster are able to use their 1st party & 3 rd party data to target very specific audiences. Similarly to addressable TV, in fact, they’re almost the same thing. 

 

But with digital video viewers can click through to a landing page. Although most don’t, this is because they watch it, similarly to TV. On a big screen with other family members. So you have to think about what your marketing goals are for using digital video. 

Lots of advertisers now use it to extend the reach of their traditional TV campaign, to help reach those who are light TV viewers. But it can also be used on its own very effectively for reaching specific audiences or targeting specific programming. Such as Sport only, or Reality only, postcode, or city targeting to name a few.

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