How Much Do TV Ads Cost in 2024?

Jul 9, 2024 / Industry Insights / FOTW

TV advertising is still as powerful as ever, thanks to TV’s unique ability to adapt to the age of the internet and maintain its relevance. If you’re a company planning your next big marketing campaign, definitely consider adding TV ads to it. The power of a good television commercial can’t be overstated.

According to Statista, in 2024 the ad spending in TV advertising is forecasted to reach US$ 147.90 billion. Not only that, but the number of users being reached through traditional TV ads is also growing, estimated to reach 5.7 billion people in 2028.

The value of TV advertising remains as it ever was, but you may be wondering: “How much does a TV ad cost?” The answer isn’t as simple as you may like because there are multiple facets to not just creating a good TV commercial but also one that works. Let’s take you through everything that gets counted towards TV advertising costs:

How TV Ad Costs Are Formulated

Source: HubSpot

There are two overarching factors that play a role in a TV advertising bill – with both being equally as important as the other. In a nutshell, the total cost of a TV ad campaign is split into production and broadcasting costs. Production generally includes everything involved in the creation of the actual commercial, while broadcasting involves the costs of getting that commercial distributed on the airwaves.

You can’t make a great TV commercial without the production process, and you won’t be able to broadcast it without going through the right steps to get your commercial on air. Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail.

Production Costs

There isn’t one way to predict how much the cost of TV ad production will be because it can vary wildly based on several factors. TV advert costs when it comes to producing the commercial itself could be anywhere from £10,000 and up to £500,000. It all depends on whether you want to make a minimalist ad or a full-blown blockbuster squeezed into a 30-second commercial.

The factors that are included in production costs are:

Type of ad – This is basically split into animated or live-action. Animated commercials typically don’t involve the need to hire a cast of actors, while live-action ones do. Since animated commercials tend to only need a voice actor to read lines for a voice-over, the total production costs can vary greatly compared to live-action adverts.

Length of ad – Typically, TV commercials tend to be a minimum of 30-seconds long, but there are those that stretch to 60-seconds. The length of your TV commercial will have a direct influence on the production costs, with longer ads certainly costing more as more planning is required and more footage will need to be processed for the final product.

Music rights – One of the most influential aspects of production costs is the music used. Depending on whether your commercial uses a small-town musician’s song or one that’s a big hit on the radio, the price of the usage rights can vary drastically.

Advertising cast – Whether for a voice-over or to produce a live-action TV ad, the type of people that you hire for your TV advert can change the value of its production cost. Regular, small-time actors are a lot more affordable compared to big-name celebrities, regardless of whether you hire them for just their voice or their face.

Broadcasting Costs

Source: MediaPost

The TV ad market remains a bustling one and the second factor influencing how much a TV ad costs is the price to broadcast them.

In general, TV ad broadcast slots are traded on a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) basis. What this means in TV advertising terms is that the CPM is the pricetag broadcasters like ITV or Sky will place on their advertisement slots for every thousand viewers your ad may reach. According to studies, it could cost just £6, on average, for a 30-second commercial to reach 1,000 people.

Over the years, the cost of an ad slot has decreased as the number of TV channels has boomed since television made the shift from terrestrial to digital, with plenty of channels targeting various different audiences and niches. But, overall, the factors that can influence the broadcast costs remain the same – daypart, broadcaster, TV show ratings, season, regionality and ad length. We’ll take a closer look at those elements in the next section.

What is the Biggest Impact on the Cost of TV Ads

Source: HomeUnion

Now that we’ve taken a look at the two main factors that influence how much a TV ad costs, let’s take a deeper look at the forces at play that can greatly affect the final bill.

Cast

A majority of TV commercials will feature a cast of people, in one way or another. Whether it’s a voiceover for an animated advert, or a small family for a live-action commercial, the people you hire to take part in your commercial will add to the cost of it.

The biggest factor that will impact the overall cost of your TV advert is the star power of your cast. Of course, a star-studded cast will cost a lot more than hiring regular actors. Truly consider whether your TV advert needs celebrity power in order to make it more effective before making the decision to hire one, especially since there have been plenty more successful TV commercials broadcasted without the need.

Daypart

In TV speak, a “daypart” refers to the time of day a broadcast segment is a part of. “Breakfast” and “prime time” are two rather well-known examples of dayparts. Different dayparts carry different price tags, with some being more expensive due to the relative viewership numbers.

Breakfast and daytime TV slots tend to carry a lower CPM, with prices going between £50 to £150 on the smaller channels and the bigger broadcasters charging around £3,000 to £5,000 during those same slots.

Broadcaster

As you can see above, the bigger the broadcaster, the higher the CPM. You can expect to pay much more for a daytime spot on ITV than one on Channel 5 during the same daypart. This is due to the fact that certain broadcasters are more popular than others and, therefore, are able to place a higher CPM price tag on their viewership.

While it would be great to be able to broadcast your commercial across all channels, your TV ad campaign will work better if you are able to target the right audience using the right channels. That way, you can utilise your TV advertising budget a lot more effectively and gain more positive returns.

TV Show Ratings

Another major factor that can influence the final cost of running a TV ad campaign is how highly the TV show the ad slot is placed against is rated. A more popular programme like Coronation Street – which boasts an average of 3 million live viewers this season – would charge a much higher CPM compared to those available during an episode of Tipping Point with around 1.1 million live viewers per episode.

The price difference of commercial slots can be within the thousands of pounds, even if it’s on the same channel!

Regionality

Thanks to technologies like Addressable TV, TV adverts have become more targetable in recent years. With the rise in region-focused television from broadcasters like Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV and Sky, advertisers are able to narrow their focus to only broadcasting ads in specific regions around the UK.

However, targeting specific regional channels can carry a larger cost compared to the TV advertising cost if you were to broadcast on the nationwide channels.

Season

Thinking of broadcasting a Christmas commercial for your company? Well, expect to pay a lot more than usual for those precious ad spots!

Seasonality also plays a big role in whether the CPM goes up or down, with big UK holidays like Christmas or massive sporting events like the World Cup being the most expensive regardless of the broadcasting channel. For a more cost-effective TV advertising campaign, consider purchasing off-season ad slots.

Length

The typical TV ad slot is 30-seconds long, and, as such, the base rate for most slots will start at the CPM of a 30-second commercial. Costs will vary for ads that are longer or shorter than that timeframe, with it needing to be within 10-second multiples.

Before you think of cutting down your next TV ad to below 30-seconds in order to save costs, consider the repercussions it will have on the effectiveness of your message if the audience only has 10-seconds to digest the commercial. The short answer is: It really won’t be worth the cut in costs.

How to Make the Most Out of Your TV Advertising Budget

Source: ThinkTV.ca

Now that you know what goes into the overall TV advertising cost let’s take a look at how to best utilise your TV advertising budget so you will be able to get great results from your next campaign. Here are four tips for making the most from your TV ad budget:

  1. Plan well in advance

Having a properly fleshed-out idea alongside an in-depth production schedule (rather than a “rough” one) will greatly reduce the risk of budgetary wastage. Plus, having plenty of time to plan your TV ad campaign allows you to make full use of the data available in order to ensure that you’re utilising the right channels at the right time to reach your intended audience.

Being able to plan in advance also gives you the opportunity to investigate all possible options in terms of production. This allows you to get the best quality commercial in the most cost-effective way possible while still fulfilling the needs of the campaign. Planning in advance will also ensure that there is enough time for your advert to gain clearance, allowing for a smoother experience.

  1. Create a thorough budget

Breaking down the budget for your next TV ad campaign in as much detail as possible can prevent any surprise expenses from popping up while the commercial is in production. Using a budget template will help you get this done in a more straightforward way since all the things you may need to plan for within a TV ad campaign will be listed within the template.

Having a thoroughly-planned budget allows you to know exactly how much money will go where, which allows for a much smoother ride from ideation to broadcast. It will also be useful to keep team members on the same page about the campaign’s budgetary needs and should be used as a source of truth when making monetary decisions.

  1. Keep track of your expenses

Even though you would have a thorough document with all the expected expenditures that would go into creating and distributing your TV advert, it is just as important to track all the expenses made as accurately as possible. This is especially important if multiple members of your team have purchasing responsibilities.

A great idea would be to use the same document that holds the budget to track your expenses so that you can easily look back at how much you should be spending on certain things. Being able to track all expenses related to your TV ad campaign this way would make it a lot easier to avoid overspending, or worse, underutilising the allocated budget.

  1. Engage with the right advertising agency

Never settle when it comes to TV advertising. Make sure you take your time in finding the right TV advertising agency that not only knows their stuff but one that shares your company values, too. It is important that you do this step at your own pace, especially if this is your first time developing a marketing strategy for television.

Engaging with the right agency that will take the time to understand your needs and they respect the budget that has been set aside for your TV ad campaign will ensure that the budget is utilised to its fullest potential. If the TV advertising agency that you engage with takes the time to get to know you, your product and your needs, then you’re on the right track.

Rough Price Estimate for a Typical TV Ad

A quick recap: We’ve discussed the two important factors that go into the overall TV advertising cost – production and broadcast – as well as the biggest contributors to that price tag within those two factors. Now you’re probably looking to see proper numbers so that you can gauge how much TV advertising costs.

So, how much does a TV ad cost, really? Let’s take a look at two types of ads that you will generally catch on television and give you a rough idea of what to expect if you decide to go either route:

30-second animated commercial

Depending on how complex the animations for your advert need to be and exactly who will be reading those voiceover lines, there is a range of prices that you could expect to pay for a 30-second animated commercial. A “young gun” voice actor would definitely hit the budget less than hiring a big-name celebrity to run those lines, so decide what’s best for the campaign’s needs with your TV ad agency as early as possible.

For a relatively simple 30-second animated TV ad with a voiceover, a budget of around £45,000 would be plenty for a small-sized company to create an effective TV commercial. This budget is enough to take you from ideation to broadcast.

30-second live-action commercial

Your budget for TV advertisements will almost certainly need to be increased in order to accommodate the cost of employing actors for live-action commercials. The final cost will be quite a little different depending on the type of set that needs to be rented, which may be anything from a straightforward green screen studio to a fully-furnished “house” set.

Creating a 30-second live-action TV advertisement that simply requires renting a few pieces of furniture and a green screen studio would cost between £100,000 and £150,000. However, if a location such as a house needs to be rented, then there will be additional fees involved. Again, planning everything well in advance can help with sorting any rental needs out – and most likely for a better price compared to booking it last minute.

See our example below:

Live-action / CG integration commercial

A more intense campaign thats going to run across multiple channels and for a longer period of time you’ll be looking around £150,000+ . This is what we call a super shoot where you will have 2-3 days of filming and photoshoot to capture enough content and assets that will go across multiple channels, TV ads, Digital and social videos. This should be enough content to keep a campaign running for up to 12 months.

See our example below:

How Much Does a TV Ad Cost in 2024?

All in all, there is no simple answer to how much a TV ad costs as there are many factors that come into play when drawing up the final bill. Expect to pay between £10,000 to £150,000 for a single 30-second commercial, depending on what you’re looking for.


However, the best way to maximise your TV advertising budget is to hire a great TV advertising agency – especially one with an in-house production unit. The right advertising agency will figure out the right costs to meet your budgetary and marketing needs, in order to meet the goals of your TV advertising campaign.

Do you want to know more about how we can help with your TV advertising? If so, give us a call on 01582 881144 or drop us a line at hello@falloffthewall.com. We’d love to chat.