New TV Ad Categories: Are They Up To Snuff? Place Your Bets

TV network and station executives love new advertising categories. Over the last several years, they have put a lot of promise into sports betting and gambling, for example.

While that category continues to rise -- up 17% so far this year (through December 7) to $360.4 million in national TV spending, according to EDO Ad EnGage -- some recent observations have been made that these results as underwhelming. 

During a recent industry event, Nexstar Media Group executives were a bit less enthusiastic about some categories than others in terms of new TV brand advertisers replacing much of the decline seen in automotive TV advertising over the past periods.

More recently, automotive TV advertising has been rebounding.



Major national TV brands with high spending this year so far include FanDuel ($150.2 million), Draft Kings ($114.9 million), and BetMGM ($40 million), which continue to occupy top brand positions.

However, looking at the bigger picture -- for all gambling advertising -- MediaRadar touts the importance of the category. It says that for all of 2022, for example, total advertising from gambling marketers was up 40% to $866 million. 

In the fourth quarter of 2022 alone, the business spent nearly $300 million on all advertising -- growth that came despite having 3% fewer advertisers (475).

Roughly 80% of all gambling advertising goes into TV.

For sure, many will look at sports gambling and gaming pieces of the market to fuel more legal gambling business overall.

For example, in addition to the big three sports-betting marketers, there was the recent launch of ESPN/Penn Gambling's ESPN Bet. It already plunked down $9.4 million in national TV ad spend.

Nearly 30 states currently have online sports betting currently or are pending. Overall growth is projected to continue to slowly rise to the mid-40 range in the next several years, according to MoffettNathanson Research.

Still, some parts of the TV ad marketplace are puzzling and disappointing.

National spot -- a key component of TV stations advertising coffers -- might be a bit sluggish when it comes to categories including sports betting as well as media, healthcare and insurance, according to a recent report in S&P Global Market Intelligence. 

The bottom line? This activity -- or the lack of it -- has been a key element of a "mixed" ad market. Many executives will not want to make a wager on this cloudy picture.

This column was previously published in the December 11, 2023 edition of  TV Watch.

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