Local TV advertising has seen an uptick in the number of ad units. This follows the COVID-19 disruption that started in early March.
Nielsen says there were 5% more local spot TV advertising units that aired -- from April 27 to May 3 -- to 1.66 million versus the previous month, March 30 to April 5, when the total was 1.58 million.
This number is still down from a recent high of 1.82 million, from March 9-March 15, just before stay-at-home orders began for many states.
Over this period, Nielsen also reported a slight increase in broadcast network TV ad units -- up 2% -- to 52,817 -- and 1% more for cable networks, at 446,559.
In terms of advertising categories for local TV, retail marketers airing commercials saw an 8% uptick in advertising units (April 27 to May 3) from the month before; while automotive dealers added 31%; communications/public utilities were 28% higher; automotive dealer associations were 15% higher; and hotels/resorts saw a gain of 37%.
Political commercials almost doubled -- to a total of 11,857 (April 27-May 3) versus 5,477 (March 23-29) -- although well off the 207,999 airings for the week of February 24-March 1, just before the stay-at-home orders began.
Overall, Nielsen says, a number of markets were up by double-digit percentages in terms of higher advertising units.
For example, Lansing, Michigan, Portland, Maine; Flint, Michigan; Harlingen, Texas; Boise, Idaho; and Honolulu, Hawaii, were up more than 20%.
The findings: 101 out of the top 132 markets witnessed an increase in the number of commercials aired.
Just counting the number of spots that can be identified without tying these to audience attainment and/or ad spend can be a bit misleading. For example, such tabulations generally show many more market by market advertising units---by local, regional and national spot buyers---than one sees for the broadcast TV networks and national cable, however, TV ad spending is heavily concentrated on the national side. About 60-65% of TV ad dollars are placed nationally.