Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ad Rates Year-to-Year

It's often said that the broadcast TV model is going to die whenever the advertisers finally "realize" they are spending more and more money for a smaller and smaller piece of the TV viewing pie.

Apparently the 2010 upfront was not when that happened.

Yesterday I took another look at how viewers and demos correlate with ad rates. Today, a look at year-to-year changes in both ratings and ad rates. I'm just using shows that had same-timeslot data available both years, meaning they were in the slot in 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11. It should illustrate what I'm talking about. The first column will be the ad rate change from the 2009 upfront to the 2010 upfront, while the second will be adults 18-49 original average change from 2008-09 to 2009-10 (the last year of data available at those two upfronts).

Ad Rates Demo
Castle +45% +6%
American Dad! +27% -1%
The Simpsons +25% +2%
House* +23% +2%
Bones* +22% +7%
Family Guy +21% -3%
The Bachelor +19% -4%
Funniest Home Videos +15% -6%
DWTS (Monday) +15% -8%
NCIS +13% +12%
The Office +12% -7%
Criminal Minds +10% +0%
The Biggest Loser +5% +0%
60 Minutes +5% -15%
Amazing Race +4% +4%
DWTS (Tuesday) -3% -10%
Brothers & Sisters -6% -18%
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition -7% -18%
Grey's Anatomy -8% -16%
Desperate Housewives -8% -20%
2.5 Men -9% -2%
Private Practice* -19% -10%
CSI -26% -31%

*- Since I try to do same timeslot comparisons, the demo change for these three shows moved in the middle of the 2008-09 season just uses their post-move 2008-09 averages for the comparisons.

I've talked about the whole "even is the new up, up is the new way up" motif before with respect to the "totem pole" of broadcast shows; in other words, if your ratings are staying the same or increasing, that means you're gaining ground on or passing the majority of shows, whose ratings are declining. But it seems to be true even in terms of real dollars. Quite a few of these shows seem to be getting more money for less demos. 15 of these 23 shows got more ad dollars than last year, but only six actually saw a demo increase. And only two shows (Two and a Half Men and Private Practice) had a worse change in ad rates than they did in ratings.

Once again, I can't really claim to know why there are all these increases, but it certainly seems optimistic for broadcast TV.

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