TV Ad Impressions For Streaming Services Doubled In First Half

Impressions for TV ads promoting streaming services exploded in this year’s first half, rising 120.6% year-over-year, as existing and new services capitalized on the pandemic’s stay-at-home scenario to add subscribers.

Streamers’ TV ad minutes totaled 93,774 — up from 42,627 minutes in 1H 2019, according to a report from advertising measurement and attribution company iSpot.TV.

While TV also saw increased viewership in the early months of the pandemic, as COVID-19 limited linear TV’s tentpole programming, streaming became “the primary place for new, premium content,” the analysts note.

Streaming service ad impressions rose substantially within two weeks of the sports event cancellations stay-at-home orders, as existing services sought to grow their subscriber bases.

That was fed further by broadcast networks’ advertising support for streaming service launches, which made it “even more likely that turning on a device meant audiences were seeing a promo for streaming,” points out iSpot.

HBO Max, Quibi and Peacock accounted for nearly 10% of the total ad impressions in the period.

Two established services led in impressions: Hulu’s rose 200% YoY, and Amazon Prime Video's rose 83.4%.

But still-new Disney+ was in third place, and new streamers Apple TV+, AT&T TV, Food Network Kitchen and Peacock TV also made the top 10 in impressions:

The collective “media value” of streaming-service ads — how  much the advertising is worth across all networks — rose by 205% year-over-year, to top $1 billion: 

(Note: iSpot uses “media value” to acknowledge that network-owned services tend to prioritize advertising on parent-company networks, and those ads are not paid for with traditional “ad spend.”)

Focusing in on the end of the first half (March 12 to June 30) shows that ad investments accelerated as the pandemic progressed. Disney+ and Hulu accounted for more than 31% of ad value during this period:

Hulu and Disney+ had billions of impressions on Disney-owned ABC, FX and ESPN, and Fox Nation ads appeared frequently on Fox News. NBC aired a lot of Peacock ads, and also ads for other services:

Top shows by impressions were “NFL Football,” “SportsCenter,” “Carlson Tonight,” “Good Morning America” and “The Ingraham Angle.”

Creative-wise, here are the ads that earned the most impressions from mid March to end of June:


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