Automotive TV Spending Down 14.9% In December

Automakers spent an estimated $271.2 million on national TV advertising in December, down down 14.9% compared $318.5 million a year ago. 

December 2023 household TV ad impressions were also down 13% to 29.3 billion compared to 33.6 billion in December 2022, according to

The top five brands by estimated national TV ad spend in December 2023 were Chevrolet ($27.5 million), Toyota ($26.3 million), Honda ($24.1 million), Hyundai ($23.5 million) and Ford ($19.2 million).

The most-seen automaker ads by share of household TV ad impressions, December 2023 were Jeep: Drove All Night (2.51%), Chevrolet: Down to Earth (2.40%), Subaru: 2023 Hometown (1.99%), Infiniti: In the Attic (1.58%) and Chevrolet: ZR2 Trucks: We Have Three (1.44%), per



The NFL dominated automaker TV ad spend in December, with brands investing 21x more on those games than any other programming. The NBA was second for the industry. 

Four of the top five auto brands by spend increased NFL investment year-over-year. Ford saw the biggest increase, investing 196% more in the NFL during December 2023 vs. December 2022. Of the top brands, Honda zeroed in on the NFL the most, with ads during games accounting for 93% of the brand’s total outlay across all TV for the month. Hyundai was the exception, with mostly flat NFL spend.

Automakers had holiday sales on their list in December, and football delivered significant messaging reach as audiences tuned in for a heated NFL playoff race and college football’s bowl season, says Stuart Schwartzapfel, executive vice president, media partnerships at

“With football taking the spotlight once more in January, expect a similar programming emphasis from automotive advertisers, albeit with 2024 vehicle inventory taking the lead this time,” Schwartzapfel says.

The top five brands by share of automaker household TV ad impressions in December 2023 were Toyota (9.49%), Chevrolet (9.43%), Ford (8.10%), Nissan (7.18%) and Hyundai (7.11%).

The biggest estimated spend increases among top 15 brands by spend, December 2023 (vs. December 2022) were Honda (+33.8%), Genesis (+20.4%), Nissan (+18.7%), Acura (+17.8%) and Kia (+4.6%), per

Among the top 15 brands by December 2023 spend, only five actually increased outlay year-over-year.

Honda’s growth was driven in part by a 74% increase in NFL spend, while Genesis saw a 15x increase for spend during men’s college basketball compared to December 2022. Nissan upped its investment in NFL games by 64% year-over-year, and increased spend by 18% for college football vs. December 2022. Acura’s increase was also fueled by sports, with spend increases during NFL, NBA and NHL games, respectively.

The top programs for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions, December 2023 were NFL (11.33%), College football (4.16%), NBA (0.95%), Men’s college basketball (0.94%) and Football Night in America (0.57%).

The NFL remains a key driver of automaker TV ad impressions, with the industry seeing an 41% year-over-year increase in impressions during December games. Men’s college basketball also delivered 25% more TV ad impressions for automakers in December 2023 vs. December 2022.

Outside of live sports, programming with some of the biggest year-over-year TV ad impressions increases for automakers included "House Hunters" (+173% vs. December 2022), "First Take" (+105%) and "NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt" (+97%), per

The top networks for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions in December 2023 were NBC (5.62%), Fox (5.50%), CBS (5.37%), ESPN (4.80%) and ABC (3.48%).

Football continues to be a primary source of automaker TV ad impressions for each of the top five networks. Over half of automaker’s TV ad impressions on NBC came from the NFL alone, while college football and the NFL combined delivered more than 72% of automaker impressions on Fox, 64% on CBS and 49% on ABC, respectively, per

Notably, "Comics Unleashed With Byron Allen," a syndicated show that CBS added to its late-night rotation this fall during the strikes, ranked fourth for automaker December TV ad impressions on the network. Elsewhere, outside of sports, ABC’s "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest" 2024 took sixth place for automaker TV ad impressions on the network. 

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