Traditional TV Brand Promo/Ad Value Holds Steady, Paid TV Higher

Traditional linear TV companies have been promoting their brands -- TV shows and networks -- at roughly the same level, in terms of media value and national TV spend, as they did a year ago during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the last six months of 2021, total media value -- paid national TV spend and promotional airing of messages on their own networks -- hit an estimated $2.93 billion versus $2.91 billion for the same period in 2020, according to

This totaled 411.1 billion impressions -- down 6% versus 439.5 billion a year ago. Other recent analysis continues to show an overall slippage of linear TV viewership.

Looking at a more normalized pre-pandemic six-month period in 2019 also shows roughly the same level of promotion and advertising -- $2.8 billion in total media value and 426 billion impressions.

This year, the major TV broadcast networks continue to be the big movers: CBS projected at 40.5 billion impressions ($330.2 million in media value); NBC, 30.6 billion ($315 million); ABC, 28.8 billion ($169.5 million); and Fox, 24.7 billion ($304.2 million).



HGTV has been the top cable TV network, at 15.4 billion impressions ($62.7 million), followed by Hallmark Channel, with 13.6 billion impressions ($82.7 million). HGTV also led in the most promotional airings for any network, with 103,377.

Top overall shows for this network promo/ad messaging, in terms of impressions, are: NFL Football (19.1 billion), followed by college football (7.1 billion); and "Law & Order: SVU" (4.1 billion).

While the vast bulk of TV networks' messaging is via their own airwaves, this year witnessed an increase in paid estimated national TV spending — 37% higher to $280.1 million versus $204.4 million in 2020. (It was $225.1 million in 2019.)

The biggest estimated spender this year, the NFL Network, had $53.6 million, followed by Fox with $44.7 million; ABC at $34.6 million; and NBC with $13.4 million.

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