TV’s costliest shows this season are the ones that have a preponderance of live viewership.
Football continues to dominate as the most expensive programming for advertisers, with NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and CBS’ “Thursday Night Football” coming in No. 1 and No. 2 in broadcast, respectively, on Ad Age’s annual pricing survey.
On average, advertisers pay $627,300 for a 30-second spot in “Sunday Night Football,” up about 6% from last season’s cost.
CBS has a new addition to the broadcast top 10, acquiring the rights to air eight “Thursday Night Football” games this season. Commercial time in those games average $483,333.
It’s a trend that’s consistent with the last several years — advertisers are willing to pay more for programming that’s watched live as more viewership takes place on a delayed basis.
Fox’s “American Idol” historically has ranked among the top two most expensive shows on broadcast prime time. This season the reality singing competition is being revamped and Fox has yet to announce how it will live on the winter schedule. While “Idol” will air on both Wednesday and Thursday night, it may not run twice a week for the entire season, a network spokeswoman said.
Many media agencies surveyed have not yet placed orders for commercial time in “Idol,” so it doesn’t appear on our pricing chart, but the few that have are averaging about $243,200 for 30 seconds of commercial time in the Wednesday episode and $225,667 in the Thursday episode, with some still paying more than $300,000. That would put “Idol” in the broadcast top 10 again, at No. 7 and No. 9.
CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” is the most expensive entertainment program on broadcast, averaging $344,827. It’s consistently the highest-rated comedy, with the one-hour season premiere this week watched by an average of 17.2 million people.
But the priciest scripted series is actually on cable, with AMC‘s “Walking Dead” costing advertisers upwards of $400,000 for a package of spots.
There are several cable programs that challenge broadcast as the most expensive in which to buy commercial time, including ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” which costs about $400,000. But it’s difficult to compare many cable ad packages to those of broadcast because cable often includes multiple airings and repeats of a show.
NBC’s sophomore series “The Blacklist” is a newcomer to the broadcast top 10, debuting at No. 4, costing advertisers $282,975 on average for a 30-second spot, up 40% from last season.
“The Voice” drops to No. 5 among broadcast rivals, followed by its results show at No. 6. The NBC singing competition averaged $274,157 on Monday night and $253,840 during the Tuesday results show.
Ad Age’s survey is compiled using data from as many as seven media-buying agencies. (See our 2013 TV ad pricing chart here.) The resulting prices should be viewed as directional indicators and are not the actual price that every advertiser pays for a 30-second spot. The numbers are based on a range of agency estimates that can vary depending on the amount of inventory purchased from a network, the inclusion of any nontraditional advertising such as product placements, and the relationship an advertiser and media-buying agency has with a network. Most TV advertising is typically purchased as part of larger negotiations, not on a one-off basis.
These estimates also reflect the prices advertisers and networks agreed on in this year’s upfront marketplace. Prices have likely changed for those wishing to buy a spot closer to the air date in the so-called “scatter” market.
NBC’s “State of Affairs” is another new addition coming in at No. 8 among the broadcast competition. The series also holds the title as the most expensive new show this season, averaging $219,188 for a 30-second spot.
The peacock network now claims five of broadcast TV’s 10 costliest shows, a recognition that went to Fox last year. This season, Fox has just one show – “Sleepy Hollow” — in the broadcast top 10. Both “New Girl” and “The Simpsons” were bumped after coming in at No. 8 and No. 9 last year.
Another newcomer is ABC’s “Scandal” at No. 9 for broadcast with an average of $217,546.
Of those returning shows, 21 have seen the cost for ad time decrease, while another 20 have seen increases and 14 have remained relatively steady.
ABC’s “Modern Family” saw a meaningful decline in pricing, down 15% to $239,650 from last season and dropping one spot to No. 7 from No. 6 last year.
But the biggest price decline hit another ABC series, “Grey’s Anatomy.” In its 11th season, the cost for a 30-second spot fell 27% to $149,523.
Other big decliners include ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” which saw prices drop 21% to $136,538; Fox’ “Family Guy,” which is down 23% to $158,400; and CBS’s “Two and a Half Men,” which in its final season declined 20% to average $147,140.
Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” is the biggest gainer of the season, with its average cost surging 47% to $202,500.
Other noteworthy gainers include NBC’s “Grimm,” which shot up 40% to $118,818; ABC’s “Shark Tank,” which increased 37% to $109,878; and CBS’s “The Good Wife,” which gained 24% to average $87,210.
Wendy Williams’ Makes It Two In A Row
Wendy Williams, not too long ago dismissed as a small syndicated talk show with a fan base only in New York City, ranked No. 1 among all talk shows for a second consecutive day on Tuesday with a 1.28 rating and 9 share among women 25-54, based on Nielsen ratings in local people meter markets.
Wendy, which is produced and distributed by Debmar-Mercury, slightly outpaced Warner Bros.’ Ellen, which had a 1.22/7. CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil had a 1.07/6 on Tuesday.
Disney-ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael and NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution’s Steve Harvey rounded out Tuesday’s top five syndicated talk shows with a 1.06/8 and 0.79/5, respectively.
10 Shocking But True Display Advertising Stats
- You are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad. (Source: Solve Media) Tweet This
- Only 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads (and some of them aren’t even humans!). (Source: comScore) Tweet This
- You are more likely to get a full house while playing poker than click on a banner ad. (Source:Solve Media) Tweet This
- The average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month. Do you remember any?(Source: comScore) Tweet This
- You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad. (Source: Solve Media) Tweet This
- The average clickthrough rate of display ads is 0.1%. (Source: DoubleClick) Tweet This
- You are more likely to birth twins than click a banner ad. (Source: Solve Media) Tweet This
- About 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental. (Source: GoldSpot Media) Tweet This
- You are more likely to get into MIT than click a banner ad. (Source: Solve Media) Tweet This
- You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad. (Source: Solve Media) Tweet This
The Small Agency Awards uncover outstanding, independent agencies and recognize smart brand ideas that often get overlooked at awards shows dominated by big agencies.
A marketer recently tweeted me: “Hey Media Guy, when am I going to stop advertising on TV? Or do you think five years from now we’ll still be tuned in?”
Good questions! My answers: Not only will you still be advertising on TV in five years, but CBS President-CEO Les Moonves, for one, will figure out a way to get you to pay even higher rates for it. And his salary will finally hit the $100 million mark — up from the $66.9 million in compensation he pulled down in 2013, as disclosed in an April regulatory filing.
In other words: Suck it!
I can say all this with a reasonable degree of confidence because even as the old-school TV model continues to come apart at the seams, well, every other media model is being questioned too.
It’s telling that as adland was taking over Cannes with its annual ritual of heartfelt self-congratulation, ad-supported digital media was having its own crisis of faith about … digital advertising. Last Tuesday, Jordan Weissmann of Slate, the original online magazine, published a post titled“We Have No Idea If Online Ads Work.”
Weissmann offers an analysis of a working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research which was based on a study of online ad effectiveness conducted by eBay’s internal research lab. As Weissmann summarizes it, the study came to “a simple, startling conclusion: For a large, well-known brand, search ads are probably worthless.”
“Companies,” Weissmann writes, “understandably like to target audiences they think will like what they’re selling. But that always leads to the nagging question of whether the customer would have gone and purchased the product regardless. Economists call this issue ‘endogeneity.’ Derek Thompson at The Atlantic dubs it the ‘I-was-gonna-buy-it-anyway problem.'”
Thompson’s Atlantic piece, by the way, is even more chillingly headlined: “A Dangerous Question: Does Internet Advertising Work at All?”
In addition to looking at the eBay research, Thompson also considers Facebook-funded research surrounding Facebook-ad effectiveness — which, naturally, he takes with a grain of salt.
“Let’s say I want to buy a pair of glasses,” Thompson writes. “I live in New York, where people like Warby Parker. I’ve shopped for glasses at Warby Parker’s website. Facebook knows both of these things. So no surprise that today I saw a Warby Parker sponsored post on my news feed. Now, let’s say I buy glasses from Warby Parker tomorrow. What can we logically conclude? … Maybe Facebook has mastered the art of using advertising to convert sales. Or maybe it’s mastered the art of finding people who were going to buy certain items anyway and showing them ads after they already made their decision.”
So what should anybody in media or marketing believe in anymore? Well, uh, maybe native advertising, if you listen to the likes of native-ad purveyors like BuzzFeed and even, lately, The New York Times. Or maybe digital video, the recurring great white hope of web publishing, given that video CPMs are holding up better than other digital CPMs.
But here I’ll quote the subtitle of Derek Thompson’s Atlantic piece, because it distills not only the problem with digital advertising, but cyberspace itself: “The internet was supposed to tell us which ads work and which ads don’t. But instead it’s flooded consumers’ brains with reviews, comments, and other digital data that has diluted the power of advertising altogether.”
Flooded. Diluted. Key words, those. The media world and adland both like to beat everything to death. If something’s working, let’s push it so hard it breaks!
We can conclude, therefore, that the current native advertising and online video gold rushes will result in waytoo much native advertising and online video — and thus declining quality, distracted audiences and falling CPMs (or “engagement levels” or whatever).
This is the new normal — this nonstop crisis of faith. We’re doomed to keep worrying about how maybe nothing works in advertising anymore (or at least doesn’t work like it used to, or is supposed to) even as Silicon Valley continues to see advertising as a bottomless well of support for any and all tech startups.
But back to TV. Digital people will tell you that TV is dying, or is maybe even dead already, but it’s worth noting that the marketers that appear in the annual100 Leading National Advertisers package in this week’s issue of Ad Age are, as a group, still huge believers in TV advertising — and they generally don’t seem to be hurting for having invested in the old boob tube.
For all the current obsession about data-driven, automated, programmatic digital buying, TV remains better than any other media sector at inspiringemotional buying: seducing marketers by getting them excited about the seemingly limitless crops of new and returning shows that are so awesome and addictive that even digital people can’t shut the hell up about them (see: Twitter during prime time).
That’s why TV’s boozy, star-studded upfronts get more and more out of control every year.
<adage_no_lookbook_links>Circa 2014 — and maybe even as late as 2019 — I’ll continue to trust the open bar more than I trust the algorithm.
Simon Dumenco is the “Media Guy” columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.
By Blake Burrus, Senior Vice President of Client Services, Nielsen Neuro
The 15-second TV ad is already “the new black,” but it has yet to achieve the same level of audience engagement as its 30-second and one-minute predecessors.
Advertisers must now explore this new frontier further to make short-form ads more effective, regardless of the platform.
According to Nielsen, the number of 15-second television commercials jumped more than 80 percent between 2008 and 2012.
And the numbers continue to grow for ads 15 seconds or less, partially due to the proliferation of mobile technologies and new platforms for watching pithy online videos.
Contrary to what many advertisers think, these new platforms are providing more opportunities for existing content. TV ads and mobile ads can be complementary, if advertisers can master the short-form video.
Perfecting the 15-second ad won’t be an easy task.
As advertisers’ attentions (and budgets) are increasingly divided among new and traditional platforms, many have turned to new tools like consumer neuroscience to boost their efficiency and effectiveness in the face of rapid change.
As ad lengths are shrinking, ad budgets are shifting. Many advertisers don’t have the resources to create entirely new ad concepts customized for each channel, and they must repurpose 30-second ads for each of the short-form spots.
Industry creatives typically rely on their “gut” – experience and personal judgment – to repurpose traditional ads by trimming the storyline and reducing repetition. This can result in a significantly less-effective 15-second version of a 30-second commercial.
Neuroscience is changing the art of “cut downs” by creating the science of “neurological ad compression,” which uses cutting-edge, moment-by-moment analysis of how consumers react to what they watch.
Whereas traditional methods require consumers to reflect honestly and accurately about their reactions (often an unrealistic task), consumer neuroscience adds more precise measures of engagement to current gauges of effectiveness.
Electroencephalography (EEG) measurements can track the exact moments an ad activates memory, draws attention or prompts emotional response, and can determine on an instant-by-instant basis which parts are and are not effective in engaging viewers.
Consumer neuroscience gives advertisers new insights into viewers’ emotional engagement, something creative teams have always considered important but were never able to measure. The technology can confirm, for example, if moments of humor have real impact.
Once crucial moments that maximize key neurological responses are identified, algorithms create a rough edit between 10 and 14 seconds (typically one-third the length of the original spot).
The re-cut commercial is then edited by agency creatives for story flow, continuity and visual seamlessness into a final spot that can be used for TV or alternative video platforms.
Simply put: It uses only the most vital moments and transitions – minimizing spend and maximizing impact.
This mix of art and science is effective and cost effective. Based on Nielsen Neuro’s testing of original 30-second TV spots and the EEG-optimized 15-second spots, approximately 90 percent of neuroscience-optimized 15-second ads test just as well as their 30-second counterparts, and a majority actually tests better.
The neurological ad compression approach helps advertisers increase the reach and resonance of campaigns for the same level of spending, or even considerably less, with no loss in effectiveness.
Neuroscience not only helps maximize the impact of 15-second ads (a relatively modern challenge), it also resolves a historical problem for advertisers, who for decades have wasted a significant portion of production costs and ad spend because of their limited ability to understand consumers’ emotional responses.
Now, with creative teams spread increasingly thin, this scientific process can boost efficiency by providing instant feedback on what works and what doesn’t, making the ad team’s job easier and helping advertising evolve at the pace of technology.
This article originally appeared on medialifemagazine.com.
TV Ad Dollars to Outpace Digital Video 6-to-1
18 Jun, 2014By: Doug McPherson
NEW YORK – Despite the huge growth of digital video advertising in the U.S., TV will add more new dollars this year – $2.19 billion more than 2013, compared with a $1.76 billion increase in digital video ad spending last year over 2012, says eMarketer.
What’s more, the company estimates TV will continue to outpace digital video in dollar growth through 2018. In 2016, for example, eMarketer projects TV almost doubling the amount of new dollars going to digital video channels, due chiefly to advertising surrounding the upcoming U.S. presidential election that year.
Still, digital video ad spending will increase 41.9 percent this year, reaching $5.96 billion, while TV advertising in the U.S. will grow 3.3 percent to hit $68.5 billion.
eMarkerter says the uptick in usage on digital devices is an important contributor to growth in ad spending for these sectors, but by no means will carry enough momentum to overtake the TV market in the near future.
David Hallerman, principal analyst at eMarketer, says the digital video audience is “spread more thinly” than a mass television audience, and that segmentation makes digital video ad buys more complex and less reliable than TV advertising.
“Time spent with digital video is growing significantly, and it’s taking away some TV time, but given the diversity of placements and platforms, digital video viewers are more difficult for advertisers to target,” Hallerman says.
He also added that much of the time audiences spend with digital video is not useful for advertisers. Some of that is when they view clips that are either too short or not brand friendly. But it’s also because more and more digital video content is streamed through subscription services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video – neither of which supports advertising.
Overall, eMarketer estimates that online video ad spending (spending primarily on desktop-based ads) will total $4.52 billion in 2014, or 75.8 percent of digital video ad spending, versus $1.44 billion for video ad spending on tablets and smartphones. By 2018, those figures will converge, when online will still slightly outspend mobile video – $6.64 billion to $6.07 billion.
Video ad spending on connected TVs – devices such as set-top boxes, smart TVs and gaming consoles – is accounted for in the online portion of video ad spending in eMarketer’s definition, which partially accounts for the growth there in contrast to our mobile category. As desktop advertising declines in favor of tablet and smartphone advertising, connected TVs will help pick up slack in the online category.
“As audiences find it easier and easier to watch Internet-sourced content on their TVs, and as more and more content compels them to watch, the connected TV universe will offer marketers a unique blend of digital interactivity and TV’s big-screen power,” Hallerman added.
When top digital-advertising executives descended on Palm Desert, Calif., last month for the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Annual Leadership Meeting, one topic dominated conversation from start to finish: fraud. In the hallways and onstage, the industry’s leaders made it clear that the problem was out of control and needed to be stopped.
In a town hall on the subject, one participant even suggested putting a bounty on perpetrators. “What about ‘Wanted, dead or alive?'” he said. “Twenty-five thousand dollars to each company who puts one of these guys out of business. Make it $100,000!”
The ad industry loves to talk a big game when it comes to fighting ad fraud. But when it comes to actually doing something about it—bounties or otherwise—the story is much different. Fighting fraud costs money, and just about every company in the ecosystem can benefit in some way from it. The rational decision for most is to look the other way.
Purging fraudulent impressions from the system would mean higher media prices and lower performance (though more accurate). Fraud pumps up publishers’ traffic, exchanges get paid a percentage for trading it, buying platforms’ performance looks better because of it, and agencies can bring those great results to clients. Everyone wins!
Brands, of course, are aware fraud exists and price that into buys. Meanwhile, they’ve moved on to shinier objects like “native” ads and social media. The truth is, there’s little incentive to fight fraud.
“I’m pissed,” said Tom Phillips, CEO of Dstillery, a technology company that lets buyers purchase programmatic ad inventory. “We’re out there trying to do it the right way and by comparison we’re facing a prisoner’s dilemma against competitors who show great results from fraudulent traffic,” he said. “Anyone along the chain who is playing it straight gets screwed.”
What does it cost to go straight? Eric Franchi, co-founder of ad networkUndertone, said his company brought the percentage of suspicious activity in its network down to the 3%-to-5% range by having fraud-detection companiesPeer39 and Integral Ad Science monitor its inventory. Each day, Undertone reviews the reports and removes those sites.
“A shoot first ask questions later approach,” is how Mr. Franchi described it. “Clearly if people are saying that 30% of the impressions out there are fraudulent, there needs to be a lot more companies taking these steps.”
The process is expensive. The fraud-detection firms charge fees based on the number of impressions monitored and Undertone eats the cost.
Fraud flourishes in the opaque world of ad networks and exchanges, where buyers often don’t know the sites they’re buying due to agreements between exchanges and the publishers that supply inventory. But Andrew Casale, VP-strategy at Casale Media, said fraud could be minimized simply by showing buyers the top sites on which their programmatic media dollars are spent.
“There’s going to be a lot of questions raised if you start to study the list,” he said. “On the marketer end, everyone is saying ‘I have no idea what I’m actually buying because I don’t look at because it’s too big.’ That’s a convenient excuse but it can’t remain an excuse for long.”
Curt Hecht, global chief revenue officer at the Weather Company, said digital-ad buyers could make a difference by asking their suppliers the right questions. Those include: How are the ads procured? Where are they placed? Where will they run? Where won’t they run? Who are the different partners? And what do they do?
‘Anyone along the chain who is playing it straight gets screwed.’
Mr. Hecht described these questions as common sense, but they assume the buyer wants the answer. If the price is right and the performance is there, who cares?
Google Acquires Spider.io, Turns Up The Heat On Ad Fraud
Premium Publishers Are Getting Victimized By Traffic Fraud, Too
Michael Tiffany, CEO of fraud detection firm White Ops, said some fraud today is so egregious that the only way it can be succeeding is because nobody cares. The more sophisticated fraud, he said, presents challenges but is not unbeatable. “The IT staff of ad-tech companies are just not built to be winning fights against the world’s best hackers,” he said.
The lack of consequences is playing a major role. Harvard professor and ad-fraud researcher Ben Edelman suggests making refunds for fraud traffic a contractual obligation. “In practice right now, you promise to deliver it, you don’t quite deliver it, people shrug, the world moves on,” he said.
But even Mr. Edelman isn’t sure that’s workable. “I don’t know if they have the wherewithal, the backbone, the legal enforcement, the lawyers frankly, to go and hound each other until they’re all honoring their respective promises to each other,” he said.
Video Ads 38% Higher Than Cable TV Ads In ’13
2 Apr, 2014By: Doug McPherson Response Magazine
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – The average cost-per-thousand (CPM) for an in-stream online video ad in 2013 was $23.03, or 38-percent higher than the average 18-49 CPM for cable TV, according to a report from SQAD, a research firm for TV, radio and digital costs and analysis.
For this report, SQAD says it created a comparison of four of its media databases from a CPM perspective: display, cable TV, network TV and in-stream video.
Network TV was the most expensive advertising medium with an average CPM of $44.11. Display ads trailed the pack with an average CPM of $10.88, and were 72-percent cheaper than in-stream video.
The average cost for both network and cable TV ads increased in 2013. The average 18-49 CPM for a network primetime ad in 2013 was $44.11, up 5 percent from 2012. Cable TV primetime A18-49 CPMs were also up 5 percent to $15.63 in 2013.
“In many cases, online premium video inventory is still somewhat limited, so it’s not that surprising that rates are high right now,” says Neil Klar, CEO of SQAD. “Broadcast TV networks command premium CPMs because of their reach and programming, and they have leveraged those commodities to obtain upper tier in-stream video CPMs.”
Of the sites reported in the In-Stream Video CPM classification, TV Network Websites commanded top positions. In 2013, the combined average CPM for NBCUniversal, CBS television, and ABC television was about $30, more than $6 over the all-category, in-stream average.
The average display CPM in 2013 was relatively flat year-over-year, showing a slight dip of 10 cents from 2012. “For direct, non-exchange, display buys, pricing has remained relatively steady over the past three years, and branded content sites continue to perform well,” says Tom Adams, Director of SQAD WebCosts.
WebCosts has been tracking real display CPMs every month since January 2010, and in-stream video CPMs since the beginning of 2013.
How much is new media encroaching on old?
Surprisingly little, in the very short term
By Bill Cromwell
March 6, 2014
With so many new media options fighting for our attention, including DVRs, gaming consoles, video on demand, online video and smartphones, how long until they begin cannibalizing time spent with old media?
The answer: Not anytime soon.
The latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, measuring consumption of media across a variety of devices, confirms that use of TV and radio still dwarfs everything else.
But while old media continues to dominate, new media is picking up steam more quickly, and increasing usage by younger demos suggests that dominance will end at some point way down the road.
“TV holds up well among virtually all audience groups, as it remains the broadest reaching medium with the greatest amount of inventory tonnage,” writes Brian Wieser in a note on the Nielsen report.
“This reason remains a paramount factor why traditional TV is the primary beneficiary of ad budget allocations for large brands.”
Nielsen found that the average adult over the age of 18 spent five hours and four minutes per day watching live television during fourth quarter 2013, down from five hours and 10 minutes that same time in 2012.
During that same time, the average adult spent two hours and 46 minutes listening to terrestrial radio, down four minutes from the previous year.
While those media both saw declines, a number of new media were up. Time spent watching time-shifted TV increased from 27 to 32 minutes, and smartphone usage soared from 53 minutes to one hour and seven minutes. Game console time grew from 10 to 12 minutes.
The only new media usage to decrease was time using the internet on a computer, which is falling because more people are accessing the web via their cell phones.
That was off four minutes from 2012, to one hour and one minute per day.
However, when kids and teens are included in the data, the time with new media grows markedly.
Though they still spend more time with television than any other medium, they also spend hours more with time-shifted TV, gaming consoles and DVD players than their adult counterparts, and way less time with TV and radio.
The question is when will new media time start to balance out. It’s definitely growing at a faster clip.
From fourth quarter 2011 to 2012, smartphone usage per day grew 10 percent, but it soared 26 percent from 2012 to 2013.
And time shifting grew 8 percent from 2011 to 2012 and 25 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Online video providers are already pushing for their products to be considered on par with television, through events like April’s Digital Content Newfronts.
Though the numbers definitely do not support that argument yet, in the long term they may.
“For large brands digital advertising remains an environment primarily focused on engagement-based goals, which are unlikely to ever surpass the spending that is allocated to television, both because of the medium’s perceived effectiveness, but also because of the relatively broader use of the medium and ease with which reach and frequency based goals may be accomplished,” Wieser notes.