According to figures provided to marketing body Thinkbox by the commercial broadcasters, UK television ad revenue totaled £5.11 billion in 2018 – largely driven by continued investment from online businesses.
Online businesses remained TV’s biggest investors, with 2018 data from Nielsen revealing that brands such as Google, Just Eat and Trivago collectively invested a total of £760 million in TV, 7% more than in 2017.
2017 saw investment in TV advertising fall after seven years of consecutive growth, which was attributed at the time to a weakened pound and inflationary pressure on advertisers. However, 2018’s figures show that any further decline has been avoided as TV’s total ad revenue matches that of 2017.
“TV advertising put in a strong performance in 2018 given the challenging economic environment,” said Lindsey Clay, Thinkbox CEO.
“TV remains the pre-eminent form of advertising, proven to outperform all others. TV is a trusted, high-quality environment for brands, and we are seeing signs of money moving back to TV from lower quality online environments which can’t guarantee a safe environment for brands.”
Notably, Amazon increased its spend on television advertising by 21% to £60 million, bumping the e-commerce giant from fifth to third place among the top investors in UK TV advertising – “evidence enough that the continued evolution of digital does not mean the death of TV,” Lloyd Harding, associate director at MC&C Media, told Mediatel.
“The continued strength of TV is no surprise to those of us at the coalface,” he said. “It might seem counter-intuitive but while economic stresses and strains do put pressure on the advertising industry, there is the benefit that it focusses attention on those media channels that deliver the best ROI.”
With TV advertising cheaper now than it was a decade ago and an average broadcast TV campaign in the UK getting 240 million views (BARB, 2018), Harding added that there has “never been a better time” to invest in the channel.
“There is simply no other media channel that can deliver advertising at that scale as cost efficiently in an engaged environment, delivering the same emotional impact as a TV creative.”
Meanwhile, the return of financial services Capital One and VISA to TV advertising after a haitus boosted growth in the finance category to 18%. According to Thinkbox, there are now 867 new or returning advertisers on TV in total.
However, Mark Howley, chief operating officer at Publicis Media UK and interim CEO of Starcom, warned that although TV continues to be in good health overall and should be applauded for attracting new advertisers and building new revenue streams, broadcasters cannot “rest on their laurels”.
“There is still a lot to grasp and grapple with. Young audiences continue to move to Netflix (albeit, not away from TV per se) and this is a significant concern to advertisers, yet as a counter-trend, the rise of the silver VODder continues unabated.
“What is clear, is that in a multi-device and multi-platform world, the TV companies need to be able to offer a tailored and personalized experience across device, across the platform,” Howley added.
“The TV companies that can best grasp the data challenge that is inherent within this new model, will be the ones that soar into a new future.”―Mediatel