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Advertising and Audiences: Making Ad Dollars Make Sense

1 minute read | May 2014

Americans spend more than one-fifth of their time watching traditional TV—and a lot of ads, as a result. Adding to this increased ad exposure is the fact that the number of commercial minutes each hour has increased year-over-year on broadcast television, according to Nielsen’s annual Advertising and Audiences report. In the past five-year period, despite network television’s climb, cable leads with 15 minutes and 38 seconds of commercial time during each hour on average in 2013, compared to network TV’s 14 minutes and 15 seconds.

Compounded by even more channels for ad spots to air, it’s an uphill battle for marketers to make it stick. So it’s no wonder that television ad spend is on the rise. In the U.S., expenditures topped $78 billion in 2013, up from $64 billion in 2009. The average cost of a 30-second prime time TV advertising spot across both broadcast and cable, however, has decreased slightly over the same period, costing $7,800 in 2013. The average prime time spot on broadcast alone, however, commanded nearly 10 times as much—$75,000 in 2013.

In addition to increased spend, advertisers have adapted to the changing video ecosystem by creating more ads that are shorter in length. Fifteen-second ads comprised only 35 percent of all aired television ads in 2000, but increased to 44 percent in 2013; meanwhile, 30-second ads decreased from 62 to 53 percent over the same time period.

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