TV Advertising: A Thing of the Past or an Evolving Model?


There are more and more ways we can seek screen entertainment. And as these means grow in number, there’s an ever-increasing range of advertising avenues available.
Does this mean that more traditional methods of promoting goods and services might suffer? Or is it the case that there’s scope for traditional advertising to develop into something that responds to the times while retaining its huge reach?

TV ads: a quick infomercial

When TV took off, it wasn’t long until corporations were queuing up to use its incredible power to shine a spotlight on products and bring them right into the living room. From its first appearance on US sets on July 1st 1941, it was clear that TV advertising was going to make a huge impact.

That first ad cost a princely $9. The rate of growth in the US thereafter was phenomenal, so much so that by 1951, the spend on TV advertising had reached $128 million, and by 1955 $1 billion. By 1977, it was at $7.5 billion, and it appeared that there was no limit to its growth.

However, along came streaming services, which began to make dents in linear TVs hegemony. Revenues peaked over the next few years, and in 2017, there was, for the first time, a drop in TV ad spending.

What about in the UK? Starting with the first TV advertisement on these shores in September 1955 (for Gibbs SR toothpaste), there’s been a similar pattern of staggering growth and slight decline.

TV advertising now

So, has TV advertising had its day? What the above account doesn’t tell you is this:

Spend is still right up there with the biggest in the business. For instance, the UK total TV ad spend in 2021 was £5.46 billion, which is phenomenal. It certainly dwarfs the figure spent on newspaper ads, for instance, which was £846 million in the same year.

What the money is being spent on is far more effective now than ever before. It’s to this area that we’ll now turn.

What can TV advertising deliver?

Effective advertising depends not just on what you spend, but on whether you get the right content in front of the right people. It’s in this area that TV advertising has made huge strides.

Up until recently, advertising in pretty much every area involved spending money on getting some information out to people, with relatively little really accurate targeting ability. However, using first and third party data from the broadcasters and from ad consultancies, it’s now possible to fine tune the situation to a remarkable extent.

This means that when you’re deciding what to spend your ad budget on, you can opt for a needle-sharp campaign targeted at individual households. This will mean a more fruitful exposure for the ad and greater ROI.

Through the incorporation of addressable advertising, combined with the promotional possibilities offered by on-demand services, TV advertising continues to be a major player.

It all ads up

TV advertising now offers unparalleled options, from national coverage to postcode-specific campaigns. In a changing world, it’s imperative to cater for as many levels of ad operations as possible. This is why TV advertising is a thing very much of the present, and the future.