Buoyant UK TV advertising blasts through £5bn barrier

UK TV advertising blasted through the £5bn barrier for the first time in 2015, a 7.4 per cent increase on 2014 according to new figures from TV marketing body Thinkbox.

What will make Thinkbox’s TV company members just as happy is that online businesses are now the second biggest TV advertising category, spending over £500m. Facebook was the highest-spending newbie advertiser with £10.8m. Facebook, Google and Netflix spent over 60 per cent of their ad budgets on TV. The numbers include linear spots and sponsorship, broadcaster video-on-demand, and product placement.

In other categories motors increased TV spend by 18 per cent to £318m, finance increased by 17 per cent to £428 million and household FMCG increased by 14 per cent to £199 million, according to Nielsen figures.

Other goodies for TV, according to Thinkbox, include:

*The 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.

*Despite some recent inflation in TV advertising prices due in part to 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.

*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 21.2bn, Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser each with 20.3bn and Mars with 16.4bn.

*In 2015 there were 877 new or returning advertisers to TV, 2.3 per cent of the spend total.


Thinkbox CEO Lindsey Clay says: “TV advertising works, it works better than anything else, and it works for all budgets. 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.”

There you are then. Are we heading back to the good/bad old days when buying media meant an arm wrestle between agency buyer and TV sales boss in Langan’s, with none of this digital nonsense to disturb the rest of the afternoon?

Probably not but these are very good numbers all the same. Some of it must be down to the ‘John Lewis effect,’ advertising that becomes an event in itself and gets noticed by big company CEOs (and their partners).

Could be why lots of agencies are hunting around for seasoned creative directors who’ve made a proper ad or two, not using a Mac. Trouble is, they made half of them redundant a few years back.

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