Nielsen has produced its 2016 ranking of the UK’s top advertisers and the top three are Sky – on £287m, up 18 per cent year on year – Procter & Gamble on £224m and BT, including BT Sport, on £159m.
Which shows pretty clearly the changing nature of the ad market. Sky’s figure is nothing short of staggering but, presumably, it includes all the ads plugging itself on its own channels, at ratecard. Even so it’s a huge sum, in part surely a defensive measure to keep pay-TV interlopers out. BT has made big inroads into Sky’s market, of course, but clearly still has a way to go. Can it match Sky’s spend when it has a few other pressing concerns – like huge fines for various business doings and an accounting black hole in its Italian operation? If ever a company looked overstretched it’s BT.
Amazon was the biggest riser in the top 20, doubling its spend to £101m. Which tells a similar story as it expands its offer to include entertainment.
Time was when the UK’s co-called “blue chip” advertisers were FMCG companies: P&G and Unilever obviously but also food and confectionery. The new reality is that tech-based entertainment companies rule the roost along with betting and price comparison website operators.