Lead Forensics

TV Advertising Costs

Thinking about advertising on TV? This concise guide outlines the ways your costs may be affected. Want to learn more? Contact us today.

Infographic: 6 ways to cut TV costs
01 November 2020


Did you know that, on average, it costs just £6 to reach 1,000 viewers with a 30-second TV advert? This works out to around 0.6p per potential customer. Crazy, right?

Airtime is typically traded on a Cost Per Thousand (CPT) model, which in layman’s terms means the price of reaching one thousand pairs of eyeballs. TV advertising costs are generally lower than they used to be due to the explosion in the number of channels available to viewers. Armed with over 300 access points to niche interest groups and demographics, television advertisers can now target audiences with unprecedented accuracy and cost-efficiency. 

Now, let’s take a look at the factors that can influence your TV advertising costs…

Time of day

The time of day your commercial airs has a big impact on your Cost Per Thousand. Typically, daytime hours (09:00-17:30) attract smaller viewing audiences, and therefore lower TV ratings. It’s these ratings that determine the CPT for your desired audience.

The peak time-slots, on the other hand, command large evening audiences – increasing the costs of advertising on TV as a result. Consequently, daytime is often regarded as the domain of Direct Response strategies, while peak is seen as prime real estate for branding activity. Though really, TV is both of these at all times.


The more specific the audience you buy in to, the higher the costs. This draws us back to those TV Ratings, or the percentage of your specified audience tuning in at that time. So, if you’re advertising during the day, you will most likely be buying into all adults (16+) and therefore securing cheaper CPTs.

Conversely, if you want to access premium peak airtime then you’ll generally have to buy into a more defined audience group. If you’re targeting Males 16-34, the specificity of your audience means a higher percentage of it will be watching. There are exceptions to this rule, however, so talk to us to find out more.


TV advertising costs fluctuate by month and time of year. It’s all a question of supply and demand. Typically, the winter months draw larger viewing audiences keen to stay indoors and out of the cold. Brands look to tap into this, and costs rise accordingly.

The build up to Christmas in particular drives fees up, again because of higher viewing figures and more businesses seeking airtime. Interestingly, however, Christmas itself sees prices fall, with most brands ending their television activity by Christmas eve. This drop-off often extends into the start of January.

As for the summer months? Unless there’s a big sporting event, you’re likely to find the most affordable rates of the year. 

Ad length

The length of your TV advert will also be a factor in how much you pay. The rate card – from which all media agencies formulate TV plans – is based on the industry-standard 30-second time-length, but advertisers can also run 10-, 20-, 40- and 60-second spots.

A 10-second ad is half the cost of a 30-second, while a 60-second is double. It all boils down to what you want to achieve. Often, advertisers will air a combination of lengths, with the shorter variations typically reinforcing the marketing message communicated in a longer one.


Of course, all of the above is irrelevant without an actual TV commercial to air. The good news is that the costs of producing a TV advert are now pretty low; for just a couple of thousand pounds you can create an advertisement that ticks all of the boxes when it comes to engaging your audience.

Your ad is essentially the face of your brand, however, so it’s imperative that you invest adequately in the production of your commercial. Create something uninspiring or half-baked, and it may take a while to recover the brand affinity you’ve worked so hard to cultivate.

Learn more about TV advertising costs

While these factors will affect the cost of TV advertising, it is the approach you and your media agency take that will have the biggest impact. Through a process of testing, learning and optimising activity around the best-performing areas, TV can be a cost-efficient option for your business. And with the continuing advancement of targeting capabilities at regional and addressable levels, the range of possibilities is only widening.

To find out more, get in touch with our team today.

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