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First Half of 2020 Advertising Report: Streaming Services Went Big with TV Ads

iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company, examined advertising trends for the first half of 2020, and one of the biggest highlights is how streaming services are stealing the show so far this year, with a 120.6% year-over-year increase in TV ad impressions and a 205% year-over-year increase in media value*. 

Below, we dive into more insights around how streaming services leveraged TV advertising in the first half — but first, a few overall stats for the first half 2020: 

Although the coronavirus pandemic has thrown the TV ecosystem in chaos, the first half of the year saw a 5.2% increase in TV viewership as well as a 37% increase in unique ad creative compared to 2019. Many companies were quick to adjust their creative to the new reality, with 3,320 brands running over 10,000 COVID-19-related ads. As audiences sheltered at home, news consumption rose — it’s up 34% through June, and up 42% since shelter-in-place directives went into effect in March vs. the same period in 2019.

Streaming Services Steal the Show 

Overall, in the first half of 2020 there were over 56 billion TV ad impressions from streaming services, with ads racking up an estimated $1 billion in media value. Not only that, more than twice as many minutes of streaming ads appeared on TV in the first half of this year vs. last year (93,774 minutes vs 42,627 minutes). 

As you can see from the graph below, within two weeks of widespread pro sports cancellations and stay-at-home orders, streaming service TV advertising volume upticked considerably. Although this jump was primarily fueled by a couple of existing platforms, namely Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, the industry overall continued to gain momentum as new services (HBO Max, Peacock, Quibi) entered the market.

Streaming impressions for the first half of 2020 via iSpot.tv

(Image credit: iSpot.tv)

The top three streaming brands by TV ad impressions in the first half of 2020 were Hulu (8.76 billion, a 200% year-over-year increase from the first half of 2019), Amazon Prime Video (6.42 billion, 83.4% YoY increase) and Disney+ (6.24 billion, which didn’t advertise on TV in the first half of 2019 because it hadn’t yet launched). These three services also led for estimated media value.

Top streaming services for the first half of 2020 by ad impressions

(Image credit: iSpot.tv)

Amazon Prime Video and Hulu continued their domination when it came to the most-seen ads, with Prime Video owning the No. 1 spot and Hulu having two in the top five.

Most-seen streaming service ads in the first half of 2020

(Image credit: iSpot.tv)

Get more advertising insights on streaming services in the full report here

*Network-owned services often prioritize advertising on parent-company networks, meaning ads aren’t paid for with traditional “spend” — which is why iSpot uses “media value” to designate the estimated market value of these TV ad placements.