So How Much Does That Primetime TV Ad Cost?


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There is an obvious correlation between highest viewership and the highest ad rates charged for a :30 spot on primetime TV.   There is a lot of mystique surrounding ad costs, and the general consumer - and most brand marketers - don't actually have a clue as to how much that commercial is.  

The cream of the crop of TV series this season include Empire, The Big Bang Theory, This Is Us, Modern Family and Scandal. And the cheapest?  Anything that airs on CW, including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Vampire Diaries, Jane The Virgin, Supernatural and Arrow.  In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares a list of TV ad rates published by Advertising Age for the 2016 Fall TV season.


Rates & What They Get You

Now in reality, rates fluctuate - a lot - based on minimum ad buy thresholds by a brand (or their ad agency).  And brands need to not forget about another big $$ factor - actually creating that :30 spot may cost from a few hundred thousand to well over a million itself.  And like all things in life, the more ads purchased, the more negotiating power by the brand.  And at certain levels, the network may include some added value perks - including product placement integration.  

Storyline Product Placement On Primetime TV

To get product placement included, the brand is really paying for the privilege to purchase at an additional rate, supplemented by a minimum amount of ad buys.  Those levels however are at the 7 figure mark and above.  And brands who want to have brand integration in primetime scripted programming should expect a minimum of $1 million (and up to $5 million +) additional ad buying commitments on even the most affordable networks.  

Why the additional ad buy?  The network needs to be loyal to their advertisers - and the advertisers aren't all too happy at brands who might get prime storyline product placement exposure without having to play in the same level of media dollar commitment.  So basically - Coke and Ford don't want any other brand to be able to get storyline product placement on the networks they are paying to advertise on, unless those other brands are also paying the multi-million ad rates Coke and Ford are paying. Even if the brand happens to not be a national advertiser. Or a competitor.

Alternative Options For Non-Advertier Brands

This is why SVOD networks like Netflix and Amazon, as well as Showtime and Starz cable networks are such a mecca of opportunity for brands to get storyline product placement - without the media buy.  Brands can win big on these alternative networks!  You can also read more about these opportunities at this post.

Below we share the ad chart for rates for both 2016 and 2015 - and the percent of change over the year.

ABC, CBS, CW, FOX & NBC Ad Rates


The Product Placement Alternative To Ad Buys

Is Product Placement right for your brand?  Watch this video to learn more about how this marketing practice works, what brand categories it works for, and the results brand marketers see!

Watch the video to learn what is Product Placement