The average price of a national TV ad inched up in September, but the gains appear to be coming mostly from rising demand for national broadcast networks, according to a new monthly media cost index being introduced today by syndicated data firm SQAD and MediaPost.
The index, which is benchmarked to a cost of 100 in January 2009, is a simple means of visualizing the shift in media costs over time. September’s national TV cost index rose to a 116 from a 109 in August, reflecting a seasonal upswing in demand as advertisers head into the fourth quarter. That’s up from a 12-month low of 92 in June and down from a 12-month high of 142 in November.
September’s 116 cost index marks the lowest September in the six years of data reflected in SQAD’s database, which is derived directly by pooling cost data from ad agency media buys.
The relatively weak September appears to be mainly due to a softening of the national cable TV ad marketplace, as costs for broadcast network ad time reached its highest index for a September yet. At a 183, the cost of broadcast network ad time in September is up 40 points from the same month in 2014, and trails only April, which was the 12-month high with an index of 204.
Cable, by contrast, turned in a cost index of 126 in September, down eight points from August and cable’s lowest September since 2011’s 118.
“Media is a cost-per-thousand world. Other companies measure the thousands. Our job is to measure the cost per part,” says Marc Krigsman, who joined SQAD as CEO this month, succeeding founder and long-time CEO Neil Klar, who becomes vice chairman.Krigsman, who previously was founder and CEO of independent media services agency Cross MediaWorks, said the goal of the new index is to provide some “transparency” for buyers and sellers of media time and enable them to benchmark their own relative performance in the marketplace.