‘Seinfeld,’ Shrinkage And The Rising Cost Of TV Viewers

Twenty years ago Seinfeld had both the highest ratings and advertising cost on TV.

The highest rated TV program in 2017 is Sunday Night Football.

Comparison by viewers (18–49):
1) Seinfeld (1997): 22m
2) Sunday Night Football (2017): 9m (↓ 58%)

Comparison of ad cost (in 2017 dollars):
1) Seinfeld (1997): $877k
2) Sunday Night Football (2017): $700k (↓ 20%)

If an advertiser purchased space on the most popular program on TV in 2017, then they would be paying 92% more to reach a single household than they did in 1997 (in 2017 $).

Increase in CPM $ between 1997 and 2018 (in 2017 dollars):
1) Primetime: ↑ 152%
Football: ↑ 53%

The cost to reach a single household with an ad on primetime has grown at 3X the rate versus football since 1997.

The top 10 programs by ad cost:

Check out my tweetstorm for more on this.

More on this topic:
1) REPORT: Historical Unit Cost Analysis for Will & Grace Reboot

2) Let’s Make A Deal: CBS Offers Some of TV’s Best Bargains

3) TV promo ads: The run up to the fall line-up

4) New Broadcast TV Season, Same Ratings Declines


Want the latest insights from around the video advertising industry?
Subscribe to our State of the Screens Newsletter.


Thank you

We have received your message and will be in touch shortly.


Contact Us