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State of the Screens

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

By February 27, 2018No Comments

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

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.