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Is TV Going Down the Tubes?

Bloomberg recently reported that television advertising is down a whopping 7.8% since last year. This is the steepest drop outside of a recession in the last 20 years. Why is this?

The Facts

Bloomberg and ADWEEK cited a steep uptick in on-demand entertainment services and a sharp downturn in cable subscriptions as reasons why advertising on the Tube is tanking. The people of today are becoming more and more aware of inexpensive alternatives for practically the same entertainment or at least the same amount of entertainment.

The only caveat to these statistics is sports and national events such as elections. By and large the easiest way to access live sports is to watch them via cable. This is why in Bloomberg’s predictions, they expect TV advertising to drop even more next year and then rise back to numbers similar to this year in 2020 because of the Olympic games and the United States’ presidential election.

Quite honestly, it’s probable that TV advertising is headed in the same direction as newspaper and radio – forgotten. It will take a while for it to completely lose advertisers, but television programmers need to get with the program (no pun intended) and heavily cut the cost of television ads. Right now they are so exorbitantly expensive, a lot of companies are wanting to try their hand at digital instead. It’s easy, it can be relatively inexpensive in comparison, and it’s easy to target.

What To Do

You’re probably wondering what you should do with this information? I’m going to tell you exactly what I would tell any of our clients – if it’s working for you, keep doing it. Once it stops working for you, try something different. Frankly, it’s all about how you’re reaching your audience. If you’re doing television ads, and your demographic hears about you primarily through those, don’t fix what ain’t broke! Same with radio, print, outdoor, and digital. But there is a fine line between keeping up the good work and getting stuck in a rut.

Watch your impressions, keep track of your data, and constantly project what you expect next year to look like. If you have a resident ad firm, get them to do this for you. That’s what they are there for – to delve into these stats for you and advise you accordingly. And at the end of the day, if you’re getting results, you can’t go wrong.

Have fun with it! Just make sure you’re listening to the people you hire to advise you because that’s what they’re there for.

If you need support or advice in building your advertising porfolio, please reach out at or find us on Twitter and Facebook @KearleyAndCo.


Bloomberg “Advertisers Tuning Out TV in Sign of Trouble for Media Companies

ADWEEK TV’s Share of Ad Spend Expected to Continue Its Decline This Year

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