Automotive TV Spending Drops 14.6% In May

Overall automotive TV spending is down for May despite big spending on sports. 

Automakers spent an estimated $141.4 million on estimated national TV spending in May, down 14.6% year over year compared to $165.6 million for May 2023, according to 

Year-to-date spending, $1.06 billion, is tracking 7.3% lower than the same period a year ago, which totaled $1.14 billion. 

Household TV ad impressions also fell to 23.4 billion in May, down 13.1% compared to 27 billion in May 2023. Year-to-date impression were down 11.1% to 112.8 billion for the period, compared to 126.9 billion during the same period in 2023, according to

The top five brands by estimated national TV ad spending for May 2024 are Toyota ($15.7 million), Kia ($12.7 million), Lexus ($10.8 million), Subaru ($10.6 million) and Ford ($8.6 million).



The top five brands by share of automaker household TV ad impressions for May 2024 were Toyota (8.62%), Lexus (8.12%), Hyundai (7.09%), Ford (6.78%) and Jeep (6.64%), according to

The most-seen automaker ads by share of household TV ad impressions in May 2024 were Ram Trucks: The Calling (3.09%), Dodge: Inner Child Intervention (2.33%), Subaru: The Moment (1.85%), Subaru: What the Future Holds (1.79%) and Infiniti: First Impressions (1.79%).

The top automaker ads by likeability among the top 20 most-seen ads May 2024 according to iSpot's creative assessment survey was Jeep: Famous for Freedom: All Eyes on Me (15.8% more likeable than automotive norm), Mercedes-Benz: Trinit-E (+9.5%), Toyota: Olympics: Summer Moments (+8.8%), Toyota: Olympics: Splash (+8.2%) and Nissan: Wrong Turn (+8.2%).

May was another big month for basketball, with the NBA Playoffs accounting for 32% of the industry’s total estimated national TV ad spend ($45.1 million), far ahead of the NHL, which ranked second ($6.9 million). 

Toyota allocated 60% of its budget toward NBA games, while both Kia and Lexus spent over half of their total outlays on games. Lexus, on the other hand, prioritized the NHL, spending twice as much on games as it did on the NBA, according to

The biggest estimated spend increases among top 15 brands by spend in May 2024 vs. May 2023 were Genesis (+1,034.7%), Ford (+92.9%), Land Rover (+78.9%), Jeep (+50.1%) and Mercedes-Benz (+34.1%).

Much of the spend growth seen by the above automakers was due to sports, according to

Genesis, which did not advertise during NBA games in May 2023, dedicated 19% of its May spend toward games this year, while Ford upped its investment in the NBA by $4.9 million year-over-year. 

Although Mercedes-Benz upped its spend on college baseball games by 87% year-over-year, it was HGTV programming that saw the biggest increases, led by My Lottery Dream Home (+27X YoY), House Hunters (+3X) and House Hunters International (+6X). 

The top programs for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions in May 2024 were NBA (13.02%), MLB (4.14%), NHL (3.32%), SportsCenter (1.18%) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1.09%).

NBA games dominated for automaker TV ad impressions, although reach was relatively flat year-over-year (0.7% decrease vs. May 2023). Industry TV ad impressions during the PGA Championship increased by 94% year-over-year, and impressions during the Kentucky Derby were up 56% vs. May 2023. 

College baseball games generated 49% more impressions and NHL games saw 19% more impressions compared to May 2023. Outside of sports, shows with some of the biggest year-over-year increases in automaker TV ad impressions included My Lottery Dream Home (+193% vs. May 2023), House Hunters International (+108%) and Forensic Files (+100%). 

The top networks for automakers by share of household TV ad impressions for May 2024 were ESPN (7.85%), ABC (7.71%), NBC (6.72%), truTV (4.79%) and CBS (4.66%), according to

Although ESPN delivered the most reach for automakers in May, industry impressions were down 28% year-over-year on the network. On the flip side, ABC generated 30% more industry impressions this May vs. May 2023 thanks largely to NBA games, which delivered 43% of ABC’s total impressions for automakers. TruTV generated 13X more industry impressions this May vs. May 2023, thanks largely to its schedule revamp earlier this year that prioritized sports, including the NBA — which delivered 66% of the industry’s total impressions on the network. 

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