From A 50,000-Foot View, More TV Ad Inventory May Not Be So Bad

Marketers aim to pick the right video advertising inventory. In that regard, Nielsen says the amount of national TV inventory rose 14% in 2011 over the previous year.

Decades ago, one might have viewed this added “glut” of TV ad inventory as a problem. Now there are other pressing problems such as time-shifting, viewer erosion on broadcast, and an even bigger concern: not enough hoarding shows on cable.

In this regard, we would like to know if there is extra inventory in important stuff. Is there another prime bit of inventory in ABC’s “Modern Family”? Or perhaps in the NFL?

Nielsen also says overall TV advertising spending continues to climb  -- on cable (totaling 60-plus networks), up 5.4% to just over $21 billion in 2011,  as compared with $21.1 billion for broadcast (on a much smaller group of channels. Broadcast networks’ advertising take was virtually the same in total revenue, down 0.5% in 2011 versus 2010.



Total TV spend was up 7.5% over a five-year period -- $71.8 billion in 2011 from $66.8 billion in 2007. Mind you, this hasn’t seemed to stop Internet advertising coffers from climbing; online video is projected to get to around $3 billion by the end of 2012.

Spot television is one area that hasn’t recovered as yet, down from its 2008 high of over $25 billion. Nielsen says spot TV in 2011 was $23 billion.

All this suggests that TV advertising -- national, local and regional -- will still look valuable in the coming years. Some would say this is about the idea of “scarcity” -- what is perceived as more valuable video ad inventory.

For years, the growth of non-program time on broadcast and cable networks has continued to inch forward. But there’s less talk of inventory glut as a problem.

A couple of years ago, Fox senior advertising executive Jon Nesvig attempted to scale back ad inventory in a couple of shows. He wanted to give national advertisers what they had asked for -- more value and less clutter. But marketers didn’t come running. So Fox abandoned the plan and resumed normal commercial loads.

But adding more national commercial inventory now? Is that so bad – when viewed against a seemingly unlimited supply of advertising inventory on the Internet?


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