Media Buyers Split On TV Ad $ Shift To Digital, Anticipate Strong Demand This Upfront

Asked which direction their clients would be shifting their TV and digital ad dollars in over the next 24 months, half the respondents to a survey of top media buyers indicated they would be moving from TV to digital.

The survey of 40 agency executives representing more than $40 billion worth of ad spending, was conducted by the equities research team at UBS in April, just before the beginning of this year’s upfronts, and found that 50% plan to shift money into digital. About half of those (26% of the total base), said it would be a “major shift.”

On the plus side for TV, the other half indicated their budgets would either be stable (39.6%) or would shift from digital into TV (10.4%).

Interestingly, when money is moving from TV to digital, the respondents said it wasn’t necessarily going into digital video advertising. Roughly half of those respondents said they would consider shifting it into non-video digital formats, including social, search, etc.

That said, UBS also reports that a panel of media buyers they spoke with indicated no major inflection point for TV advertising erosion in the near future, and if anything, strong demand for this year’s television upfront, especially for NBC.

“Panelists expect a very strong upfront. Demand for high quality TV inventory has never been higher. Volumes should be positive and broad based across ad categories,” the UBS analysts write, adding, “NBC  had the most impressive upfront presentation among the major broadcasters. Strong pitch focused on their high quality content and safe environment for brands. NBC continues to benefit  from their holistic view to selling advertising, bundling inventory across their entire broadcast and cable network portfolio.”

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