Drama and Sports Programs Remain Preferred Content for TV Advertisers

Marketers who target consumers with TV ads generally know who is watching which programs. But as demographics and content change, marketers are making adjustments. New data from Nielsen shows the changes marketers are making and points to some of the data media companies should be considering as they decide what to air.

The $72 billion that marketers spend on TV advertising is distributed across a wide range of shows. Here’s where consumers spend most of their prime viewing time, and where,advertisers spend their money:

  • Dramas: 41% of viewers, 35% of ad spend
  • Sports: 22% of viewers, 29% ad spend
  • Reality shows: 16% of viewers, 17% of ad spend
  • Sitcoms: 11% of viewers, 15% of ad spend
  • News: 10% of viewer, 4% of ad spend

Based on these numbers, it would appear that sports programs are getting a disproportionately high share of ad spending . However, marketers take the likelihood of time-​shifted viewing into account as they spread their ad budgets across TV content. Sports programs are more likely to be viewed live and as a result, marketers channel more ad money to them.

A related finding revealed marketers’ desire to augment their advertising dollars with in-​stream product placement. The top format for this ad strategy is reality. Nearly 58% of product placement activity occurred in the reality show format. Although the number of product placements dropped nearly 20% in reality TV last year, they are still a prominent part of TV marketing.

The numbers in this study focused on prime time viewership for broadcast and cable. While the picture for daytime TV may be different, marketers are clearly paying attention to which programs viewers enjoy and when they enjoy them.

[Sources: Advertising and Audiences. State of the Media. Nielsen​.com . State of the Media. Spring 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.