UK TV 2018 ad revenue £5.11bn

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TV advertising revenue in the UK totalled £5.11 billion (5.88bn) in 2018, matching the amount invested in 2017, according to full year figures provided to Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, by the UK commercial TV broadcasters.

Amazon increases TV spend by 21 per cent

Collectively, online businesses remain the biggest category of advertisers on TV. Based on 2018 data from Nielsen, online businesses – including brands such as Google, Just Eat, and Trivago  – invested a total of £760 million in TV advertising, £47 million (7 per cent) more than in 2017.

The top 5 biggest spending categories on TV in 2018 according to Nielsen’s data were:

  1. Online businesses: £760 million (7 per cent up year on year)
  2. Food: £534 million (3 per cent down)
  3. Cosmetics & Personal Care: £437 million (1 per cent up)
  4. Entertainment & Leisure: £380 million (no change)
  5. Finance: £378 million (18 per cent up)

Of the increased investment by online businesses in 2018, Amazon was notable. According to Nielsen, it spent £60 million on TV advertising, up 21 per cent year on year, making it the third biggest investor in TV advertising in the UK (previously it was fifth). Only Procter and Gamble (£169 million) and Reckitt Benckiser (£79 million) invested more in TV during 2018.

One of the reasons online businesses invest in TV advertising is the immediate impact it has online. For example, within the first week of Dollar Shave Club’s TV campaign in the UK,  branded online search grew by 570 per cent, according to Google Trends data.

The increase in Finance advertising spend on TV was due in part to Capital One and VISA returning to TV advertising after a period of not spending on TV. This helped boost growth, alongside increased investment overall from many businesses in this sector.

TV advertising is now 21 per cent cheaper than a decade ago

TV continues to deliver excellent value. In 2018, the average cost per thousand (CPT) for broadcast TV ad views was £5.13, up 1 per cent on 2017 but 21 per cent cheaper in real terms than 10 years ago. This figure only includes TV advertising that is watched from start to finish at normal speed – TV ads that are seen during any fast-forwarding are free to advertisers.

867 new or returning advertisers on TV

This figure represents the number of brands who advertised on TV for the first time in 2018 or returned to TV after a gap of at least five years. Notable new or returning brands included Vinted, Square, and Peloton cycles.


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