2011 UK TV advertising revs reach record high of £4.36bn

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 07-03-2012

Broadcasters may have warned and still be warning of economic slumps affecting the industry, but market data from Thinkbox has found that total TV advertising revenue in the UK increased by 2.2% in 2011 to reach a new record high of £4.36 billion.
What this means, says the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, and whose shareholders are Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations and UKTV, is that TV advertising will likely have outperformed the total UK advertising market in 2011, which is believed to have grown by approximately 1.5%. In addition it would also mean that linear TV’s share of total advertising will have increased for a fourth consecutive year, no mean feat given what has happened to the general UK economy in that period.
Thinkbox calculates that there were 887 new or returning TV advertisers in 2011 (i.e. first use of TV or no TV advertising for at least five years), including Google, Avios, Asics, Majestic Wine, and Unum. Together, new and returning advertisers accounted for 2.6% of total TV ad revenues, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

Commenting on the underlying trends, Tess Alps, Thinkbox’s Chief Executive said: “This is an encouraging performance by commercial TV, especially as it follows the market-leading 16% revenue growth seen in 2010 and was achieved during uncertain economic times. The strength of linear TV advertising investment reflects commercial TV’s record viewing and the further acknowledgement by advertisers of the evidence of its unrivalled ability to create business profit. And it’s worth noting that, in addition to these revenues, TV is also driving one of the fastest growing parts of online advertising through TVOD.”

At the heart of the robust advertising performance were record high UK TV viewing figures which in 2011 equalled the record high set in 2010. The average viewer watched four hours, two minutes of linear TV a day in 2011 (28 hours, 14 minutes a week)
Commercial TV channels (i.e. non-BBC channels) were responsible for maintaining the record viewing level, accounting for 64% of all linear TV viewing, an increase of 1.3% points on 2010. The increase in commercial TV viewing also meant an increase in the number of TV ads viewed. Commercial impacts (the number of ads watched at normal speed) during 2011 were up 2.6% on 2010, and have grown by 19.6% over the last five years to a new record high. The average viewer watched 47 ads a day during 2011.
Retail remained the top spending TV advertising category in 2011, increasing its investment by 2% on 2010, followed by Entertainment and Leisure, which increased spend by 1%, and Finance, which increased spend by 2%. There were significant increases in TV ad spend in Telecoms (up 28.8%), Travel and Transport (up 27%), and in Comparison websites (up 21.5%).