Reality check: TV by the numbers

As marketers, we’re wary of marketing messages. As each new player in the media game enters the court, we’ve heard that its forbearer is “dead.” Print is dead, TV is dead, radio is dead, Paul is dead. Well, that last one’s a Beatle – but he and Ringo keep on rocking.

If you control a marketing budget, or are responsible for attributing revenue to one, you’ve got to be able to sort out the truth from fiction. Numbers help provide context to the noise. And there’s no doubt that the way your audience consumes traditional media has changed, but just because it’s no longer traditional, doesn’t mean it’s dead. Here are a few stats to shed light on the living, breathing and far-reaching channel that is TV. 



TV is still the most-watched entertainment platform. The growing use of online media, including social and streaming media, gets a lot of press. Less sexy, but nonetheless true, is the fact that TV remains the dominant media platform for US households.

There are striking differences according to age, as evidenced by the chart (figure 1). But the numbers show that for adults overall, there’s little doubt that television is still a great investment. Especially if your demo includes Gen X or boomers.



Producing an effective television spot isn’t cheap. Recent numbers published by Response Magazine shed light on current production costs, with a solid production averaging $416K per 30-second spot. (They also provide a very helpful line-item breakout of costs associated with production, so you can see where those dollars pile up.)

This high cost of production can be a barrier to stepping into the medium or refreshing to improve your return, even if its strong reach could be the most effective channel for your product. Especially since skimping on production costs, or keeping your spot long past its prime, may do more damage to your brand than the amount you save in costs.

If response and revenue are on your media wish list, don’t let the above numbers scare you off. Marketing Architects includes creative as part of your media placement partnership. Our Emotive Solutions Platform (ESP) ensures that the creative for your spot isn’t guesswork loosely designed to evoke your brand, but a testable, provable solution optimized to perform.


Media Placement Budgets

Total spending for television in 2017 is forecasted to match the roughly $71 billion spent by brands in 2016. So, how does that ginormous pie break out? Media placements vary dramatically according to factors like market, daypart and channel. For perspective, Ad Age provides a cool interactive chart. Major market costs for a 30-second spot range from ~$14,000 for fledgling CW sitcom Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to ~$670,000 for NFL football.

Local and cable network ad buying is much less expensive, but if your audience is national, it can be time consuming – which is why mid-sized companies hire pros to place their media appropriately. At Marketing Architects, we’ve gone beyond placement – with tools that leverage AI to maximize your budget and get you seen where and when you need to be. Our programmatic buying system is called Annika®, and she’s really good at her job. Consider these numbers:

1) For every dollar spent, we reach 3.5x more viewers than the industry average

2) We’ve developed deep relationships with more than 1,000 handpicked networks and stations

3) Annika® is capable of planning, buying and optimizing over 5,000 stations across 110,000 dayparts


That’s just the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to TV, don’t let the numbers scare you. Partner with experienced pros who know how to use the number in your favor.