Commercial Costs Drop 9% in First Quarter: Report

The price of primetime commercials on broadcast networks television dropped 9% in the first quarter as ratings fell.

The average 30-second spot cost $102,983, according to data from research firm SQAD's NetCost service provided by media buyer TargetCast tcm, which notes that the first-quarter decline breaks a three-year streak in which unit costs either rose or held steady.

While broadcast prices fell, cable showed gains. The average primetime commercial on the 15 highest-rated cable networks among adults 25 to 54 cost $14,865, up slightly. ESPN's spots were the most expensive on cable at $38,943. TNT was second at $31,679.

Among the broadcasters, commercials on NBC fell 27% to $62,890. Fox's unit cost was the highest at $172,139. Spots on CBS cost $116,122 and 30 seconds on ABC set advertisers back $106,577.

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.