TV Ad Spending Takes Unprecedented Dip to Account for Less Than 30% Of Total Ad Dollars

Next year will provide a temporary relief, but won’t stave off long-term declines, according to eMarketer

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The amount of advertising dollars that are going to traditional television has declined.

According to new report from eMarketer, advertising dollars spent on traditional television will total $70.3 billion in 2019, a drop of 3% from last year. That also means that, for the first time ever, TV ad dollars will make up less than 30% of the total U.S. advertising spend.

And eMarketer forecast only gets gloomier in the years ahead.

While the research firm projects advertisers to pour more money into television in 2020 — eMarketer expects a 1% increase — that is only because 2020 has both a U.S. presidential election and Summer Olympics, two things that historically increase ad spending. eMarketer predicts TV ad dollars will decline by 1% each year after.

By 2022, TV advertising spend will account for less than 25% of the total ad dollars in the U.S. The number of homes that have dropped their TV service will climb more than 19% this year to 21.9 million, reducing the number of pay TV households to 86.5 million.

“TV ad growth can be heavily impacted by world events, so it’s possible that spending could return TV to $72 billion again,” said eMarketer forecasting director Monica Peart. “But it is unlikely that it will exceed that going forward, as ratings and viewership declines accelerate.”

This comes as spending on digital ads increased 17% during the first half of 2019 in the U.S., hitting $57.9 billion, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an online advertising trade group.

The report also comes a day after Disney made its highly-anticipated debut in the streaming era with Disney+, which has already amassed over 10 million sign-ups. Apple launched its streaming service, Apple TV+, on Nov. 1.

Tim Baysinger

Tim Baysinger

TV Reporter • tim.baysinger@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tim_bays



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