Ad Spending for Streaming Jumps as HBO Max Arrives

(Image credit: MediaRadar)

As the streaming wars ratchet up their intensity with the launch of AT&T’s HBO Max, advertising spending by the streaming services is climbing as they try to convince consumers to subscribe, according to a report from MediaRadar.

MediaRadar said that since March 15, ad spending by the streaming services is up 87% compared to a year ago. 

So far this year, the top advertisers in the category have been Disney Plus, Hulu and Quibi, collectively spending about $135 million.

Spending behind HBO Max more than tripled  the week of May 10 compared to the previous week. MediaRadar found that HBO Max began advertising the week of April 19. 

“So far, HBO Max is using a mixture of digital and TV advertisements. On TV, HBO Max is being promoted heavily across other Time Warner properties, with ads running on CNN, TBS, Adult Swim, etc. with additional placements on other networks, like ABC and Fox,” said Todd Krizelman, co-founders and CEO of Media Radar.

The Walt Disney Co. has increased its spending for both Disney Plus and Hulu during the pandemic, Krizelman said. Spending was 74% higher after March 15, compared to before March 15.

Amazon Prime Video doubled its advertising the week of May 10 compared to what it had been spending a few weeks earlier, MediaRadar said. From March 15 though May 15, spending was up 20% year over year.

“Our study found that Netflix has not shifted advertising amid the pandemic, or in response to the launches of new competitors, such as Quibi or HBO Max,” said Krizelman. “Netflix’s ad spend in the month of April was actually down 11%, YoY. It’s also worth noting that spring and summer are usually quieter months for Netflix. For the last two years (2018 & 2019), their advertising has peaked in Q4.”

Ad spending by Quibi has fallen off since its disappointing launch on April 6. Spending between April 19 and May 16 dropped 82% compared to the four weeks prior, March 22 to April 18. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.