Auto Ads Rise, Other Top Categories See Sharp National TV Declines

Major TV advertising categories have seen an 8% decline in 30-second commercials on top TV networks for the week of March 23-29 versus the same week a year ago, according to Kantar, due to cutbacks resulting from COVID-19.

This followed a decline of 3% for the week of March 16 to March 22 among the top 25 national TV networks, according to the media research company.

From Jan. 27 through March 15, the number of 30-second messaging units on TV networks grew on average 3.7%.

While many national TV advertising categories such as restaurants, travel/tourism, and retail have declined as expected due to COVID-19, other categories including automotive, insurance, and household products have been climbing.

Automotive advertising -- offering special deals due to COVID-19 issues -- has seen a 13% increase in the number of 30-second commercials for March 23 through March 29, up from 5% (March 16-22) and 3% (March 9-15).



Kantar says though “unexpected categories like automotive have been increasing the number of ads being shown.... data suggests that some advertisers have shifted towards less expensive, non-premium inventory -- and reaching fewer viewers as a result.”

Insurance marketers have witnessed a big 16% spike for the most recent week versus a year ago, while household products are seeing a 43% increase.

On the flip side, travel/tourism is down 94%, while food marketers are 21% lower, retail marketers are off 16%; and restaurants are down 7%.

After three weeks of fewer commercials for pharmaceuticals -- down 21% (March 2-8), 8% lower (March 9-15), and a 8% drop for (March 15-22) -- over the counter and prescription drug makers posted a slight 1% hike in the most recent week.

Financial services are down 5% for March 23-29 -- mostly down from previous higher week rises (13% to 26%) starting in February.

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