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UK TV ad spend tops £5bn

TV advertising revenue in the UK totalled £5.27 billion (€6.76bn) in 2015, up 7.4 per cent on 2014, according to full year revenue figures provided to Thinkbox – the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK – by the UK commercial TV broadcasters. This is the sixth consecutive year that TV advertising revenue has grown in the UK.

The figure represents all the money invested by advertisers in commercial TV: linear spot and sponsorship, Broadcaster VoD, and product placement.

Online businesses are now the second biggest category of advertisers on TV

Based on data from Nielsen, the continued growth has been fuelled by increased investment in all major marketing categories, with significant growth coming from online companies. Online businesses invested over £500 million in TV in 2015, an increase of 14 per cent on 2014. Google, Facebook and Netflix spend over 60 per cent of their marketing budgets on TV advertising.

Established TV advertisers increased investment

2015 saw a trend in more established TV categories increasing their investment. Motors increased TV spend by 18 per cent to £318 million, finance increased by 17 per cent to £428 million, and household FMCG increased by 14 per cent to £199 million, according to Nielsen.

877 new or returning advertisers on TV

This figure reflects the number of brands who went on TV for the first time or returned to TV after no TV advertising for at least five years.  Notable newcomers were Facebook, which was the year’s biggest new TV advertiser, investing £10.8 million; gaming company Machine Zone spending £6.6 million; and online estate agent network Agents Mutual Ltd investing £5.9 million. Together, these new or returning advertisers accounted for 2.3 per cent of total TV ad revenue in 2015, according to Nielsen.

TV outpaces the advertising market

Advertising Association (AA) estimates indicate that the total UK advertising market grew to £19.7 billion in 2015, up 6.1 per cent year on year. TV advertising outpaced the market, growing by 7.4 per cent. Based on the AA estimate, TV accounted for 26.9 per cent of the total UK ad market in 2015.

TV advertising is 30 per cent cheaper than 10 years ago

Despite some recent inflation in TV advertising prices in part as a result of increased advertiser demand and some decline in TV set viewing, in 2015 TV advertising was 30 per cent cheaper in real terms than 10 years ago.

Procter & Gamble was the most viewed advertiser

According to data from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), Procter & Gamble was the most viewed TV advertiser in 2015 with 30.5 billion views. It was followed by Sky with 21.2 billion views, Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser each with 20.3 billion views, and Mars with 16.4 billion views.

TV advertising at a glance:

  • Commercial TV reaches 92.5 per cent of the UK every week (BARB, 2015)
  • An average broadcast TV campaign in the UK (of 400 TV ratings) gets 234 million views (BARB, 2015)
  • TV advertising £ for £ has the highest return on investment with an average of £1.79 profit for every £1 invested (Ebiquity, ‘Payback 4’, 2014)
  • 87 per cent of TV in the UK is watched live (BARB, 2015)
  • There are 17 million conversations about TV advertising every evening in the UK (BARB/Thinkbox, 2015)

“TV advertising works, it works better than anything else, and it works for all budgets,” declared Lindsey Clay, Chief Executive of Thinkbox. “Nothing else has TV’s reach, scale and connection with audiences; no other form of advertising is as trusted. Advertisers of all sizes, from global technology companies to local businesses, know this and have voted with their investment. Online businesses in particular recognise the impact TV advertising has and have significantly increased their investment recently. This is something we expect to continue in 2016.”

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