Television Ad Market Seen Declining in 2019, But Rebounding in 2020

NEW YORK—The dollars spent on TV advertising in the United States will drop almost 3 percent this year, but will recover with a 1.0 percent increase in 2020—due primarily to the 2020 presidential election and Summer Olympics. However, even the bounce back next year will not hold off a long-term decline for ad spending on the biggest traditional advertising channel, according to a report from eMarketer
According to eMarketer’s latest U.S. advertising forecast, TV ad spending peaked in 2018 at $72.4 billion.

This year, TV ad spending in the U.S. will decline 2.9 percent to $70.3 billion, according to the eMarketer report. That means its share of total ad spending will drop below 30 percent for the first time. By 2022, TV’s share of the advertising market will drop below one-quarter of total U.S. ad spending, the research firm predicted.

TV spending will get a slight bump next year, due to political advertising and the 2020 Olympics. But the uptick will be short-lived, as TV spending will drop 1.0 percent every year thereafter, eMarketer said.

“TV ad growth can be heavily impacted by world events, so it’s possible that spending could return TV to $72 billion again,” said eMarketer forecasting director Monica Peart. “But it is unlikely that it will exceed that going forward, as ratings and viewership declines accelerate.”

According to eMarketer’s TV viewer projections released in July, the number of U.S. cord-cutting households will climb more than 19 percent this year to 21.9 million, reducing the number of pay TV households to 86.5 million.
Also affecting TV ad spending is viewing time, which will drop 3.0 percent this year to 3 hours, 40 minutes on average among U.S. television viewers. All age groups are showing declines in time spent watching TV, but the largest drops are occurring among viewers ages 17 and younger, the research firm noted.

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