TV Networks Up On-Air Promos During Pandemic, Impressions Higher

TV networks are dramatically increasing the number of on-air promo messages for their programs and brands during the COVID-19 pandemic -- while paid advertising has dropped.

U.S. broadcast and cable TV networks have aired 32% more promos, with 533,779 airings in the period from April 18 through May 17, compared to 23% higher in the previous 30-day period (March 18-April 17), which came in at 511,655, according to

The two previous months witnessed a 13% increase to 465,948 airings (January 18 to February 17) and 17% more to 440,291 (February 18-March 17).

Starting with the COVID-19 shutdown in mid-March, which saw business closures and stay-at-home state orders put into place, there has been a dramatic slowdown in national TV advertising, as well as a rise in overall viewership.

National TV advertiser inventory placed on TV networks has been estimated to have dropped 20% to 25% -- in terms of cancellations or postponement -- during the last two months.



In addition, there has been a gain in impressions from networks’ on-air promotions during the last two months -- up 19% to 93.5 billion impressions (from April 18 through May 17) and 22% to 100.1 billion impressions (from March 18 through April 17).

The top broadcast networks in terms of on-air promo airings over the last 30 days were: Fox, with 8,133; ABC, at 6,422; NBC with 5,216; and CBS, at 3,834. The top cable networks were: Discovery Channel, 26,083; Food Network, 24,970; Nickelodeon, 15,367, and TLC Channel, 15,020.

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