How Much does TV Advertising Cost?

10 mins read

Advertising costs on TV has a habit of fluctuating a great deal. Advertisers and broadcast companies use Nielsen ratings and the pricing metrics CPM (the cost of reaching a thousand viewers) to measure the price of advertising. Despite the trend towards online marketing and social media advertising, linear tv remains the best and most reliable platform for a dependable ROI or return on investment. Determining a TV advertising spend is dependant what the short and long term business interests are and what the business can afford to spend.

The cost to advertise on TV can be divided into the cost of production and the costs of media buying or buying ad slots on air. As you would expect, production costs and the advertising rates each channel offers can vary greatly. We have created a guide to help you to understand all aspects of your ad spend.

How much does it cost to produce a TV advert?

In general, production costs to create a TV advert can range anywhere from £2000 to £100,000 depending on production method. A basic TV advert using just a voice over and stock photography is probably the cheapest method. Most businesses hire a professional production agency to ensure high quality tv advertising for those with a larger budget. UK TV networks and a TV media agency can offer TV advertising packages that cover the cost of both production and the cost of air time.

Producing more elaborate TV adverts require the hiring of multiple cameras and professional actors and filmmakers. When hiring professional film crew and actors you can expect the average price paid to be between £10000 – £20000 per minute of footage. The latter option is typically used by well established businesses looking for high production values and and a polished TV advert. Costs can dramatically rise when looking to employ influencers and celebrities to endorse your product on your tv commercial.

The length of a TV advert will affect both production and broadcast costs. A shorter commercial or between 10 to 15 seconds will naturally cost less to produce and air than a longer one of between 30 to 60 seconds so plan accordingly.

Many businesses employ a production agency

Here is a table for the breakdown of production costs

  • Camera rental
  • Audio equipment
  • Studio hire
  • Voiceover actor hire
  • Professional actor hire
  • Celebrity endorsement or voiceover
  • Production team hire
  • Advertising agency hire

 How much does it cost to buy air time?

The second factor that determines your ad spend will be purchasing air time during a commercial break on one of the many UK TV networks. TV advertising costs are priced based on the CPT, which is the cost for an advertiser to reach one thousand potential customers. A network may offer a base price of £20 to reach a thousand viewers, then that figure is multiplied by how many viewers are expected to watch tv during each show throughout the day. As such the costs vary based on a number of different factors, the largest being time of day but is also dependant on location, season and whether you decide to advertise on cable or broadcast TV and how long you want a TV advertising campaign to run for and the length of the commercial.

For TV ads that run during peak time ad breaks on shows with a massive audience, the TV advertising cost can go well into the tens of thousands. For standalone events that attract large viewing figures such as the world cup or the Olympics, estimated costs can stretch into the hundreds of thousands. Fortunately these ads don’t reflect the average cost of running commercials on television.

Cable or Broadcast channels

TV advertising costs range from £1000 to £40000 to air a 30 second TV advert on a UK broadcast channel and anywhere from £10 – £5000 to air on digital channels. Running an ad on broadcast tv shows like Good Morning Britain are usually more expensive because it reaches a much larger audience. Over 95% of the population has access to these free channels such as ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five. TV advertising on cable is much cheaper as its viewership figures are much lower. Channels such as sky one and the history channel offer a subscription service to specific audiences with niche interests and so presents businesses more targeting options when considering .

Time of day

Prices vary throughout the day according to predicted viewing figures, these broadcasting times are breakfast TV, day time TV, prime time and night time. TV advertising costs are usually cheapest on breakfast TV, alongside night time tv. although prices vary. The most expensive time to advertise are the peak time slots tv when viewership figures are at their largest.

Ad Campaign Length

Determining how long you need a TV advert campaign to run will affect the price. Small businesses looking to maximise the impact of a TV commercial on tight budget should consider advertising on a cable channel. Cable TV typically reaches a smaller, more specific demographic and therefore TV advertising costs are cheaper. Businesses will be able to reach a target audience with a campaign that can run much longer. Alternatively, big brands with a bigger budget for television advertising can consider a short run on broadcast TV.


Another factor that can affect TV advertising costs is location. Both ex-terrestrial channels and digital tv offer region specific broadcast zones in which prices fluctuate dependant on expected viewing figures. Tv stations typically give advertisers the choice on whether to air a tv advert in one, multiple or all regions across the UK. Local businesses should consider which regions they intend to advertise in to read the target audience. Addressable tv offers businesses a chance to target IP specific regions for those watching tv online and using on demand services.b

Time of year

Tv advertising rates change quarterly so study the market to find the best deals. If you are planning to buy TV ad slots, then January is the good time to start. Stations are keen to make money after the holiday season, so businesses can negotiate a better price if they make a deal to purchase ads throughout the remainder of the year. Most television companies offer deals for quarterly, 6 month, and year long contracts, and they’ll reduce prices anywhere from 5 to 10% if you sign with them at the start of the season. It is in your business interests to negotiate lower rates during the first quarter of any new year.

Events and Sporting Championships

Tv advertising costs rise sharply alongside highly anticipated major sporting championships such as the Olympics and the world cup. In the USA during the Super Bowl tv advertising prices sky rocket into the millions of dollars. Sky Sports typically offer a different rates dependant on whether a match high profile or not. Popular football teams such as Chelsea attract a larger audience compared to smaller teams like Hull and the cost to place an ad during a match will reflect that. Tv viewership also increases alongside political elections and so forth and there the cost to advertise on tv steeply rises. Larger businesses with bigger budgets for an ad spend can consider short runs around these times to promote their brand to the largest possible demographic.

Here is a typical breakdown of the options that will impact the tv advertising costs.

Time length of tv advert – 10 sec/20 sec /30 sec / 60 sec
Time Band – Breakfast/Daytime/Prime time/Evening/All day
Number of Ads per day – 3/4/5
Campaign Duration – 5 Days/10 Days/30 Days/3 Months /6 Months /12 Months
Campaign Start Date – dd/mm/yyyy

Location – One region/Multiple regions/ All regions

Choosing which channel to air a tv advertising campaign

TV advertising costs vary greatly not just between digital and broadcast tv but also between individual channels. Considering which tv channels to place an ad will help you reach a specific audience and help you to maximise your ROI for your advertising budget. Here are some costs and analytics for buying air time on a few of the most popular stations in the UK. The prices shown are an approximate estimate of the average price for a straightforward tv commercial on a selection of UK tv networks. However bear in mind that tv advertising costs fluctuate each quarter.


ITV is regarded as the first choice for established brands to run a tv advertising campaign. It has a historic prestige in the advertising world as the first station to broadcast advertising commercials on air. ITV claims on its website that 38.5 million people watch their channel. Almost all UK commercials that draw audience figures that number five million or more are broadcast on ITV and its subsidiary channels. Shows such as Good Morning Britain offer advertisers an opportunity to reach a massive audience of all demographics before they begin their daily commute. Bearing all of this information in mind, it might come as a shock that you can get a daytime ad slot on ITV for as little as £3000.

For ITV breakfast television you can expect to pay rates around £800 – £2500 according to the website Popular shows such Lorraine and Good Morning Britain offer around £3000 – £4000 to run a 30 second advertisement during a commercial break.

The tv advertising cost of running an ad during daytime shows tends to be a little more pricey across the board and you can expect to pay between £2800 to £4600 to run an ad in a commercial break alongside the talk show Loose Women for example.

Peak time tv advertising costs skyrocket due to the massive viewership of ITVs most popular shows such as I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Britain’s Got Talent. Audiences for these shows number in the millions and you can expect prices on advertising rates to reflect that. To run a 30 second commercial during ITV prime time you can expect to pay between £10000 – £30000 pounds and that figure can rise as high as £64000 for a complete nation wide broadcast that covers all regions of the UK.

Tv advertising on ITV at night time prices settle back down to around £3500 – £5000 to air a tv commercial alongside the Football League Highlights or one of the late night movies that they broadcast.

Channel 4

Channel 4 typically offers cheaper tv advertising rates than ITV. If you’re looking for a less expensive way to promote your business to the alternative crowd, then you should consider advertising on C4. Prices to air a 30 second commercial start at £500 and a day time tv ad slot costs around £1000-£2000 according to Viewing figures are still very high so if you’re looking to get your message out there, this could be a good option for a small business on a tight advertising budget.

To purchase an ad slot on C4’s breakfast tv, you’ll be looking at spending between £500 – £1800 for a 30 second ad. Channel 4 typically broadcasts re runs of American sitcoms such as Frasier and The Big Band Theory at this time

To advertise on day time television on C4, prices range between £900 – £2,100 to schedule ads that run along side shows like Countdown and A Place in the Sun.

C4 offers peak time advertising rates of around £9000 – £21000 to run ads in commercial breaks during its most popular shows such as the Channel 4 News, 24 Hours in A&E and Gogglebox.

Advertising during the night on C4 offers the cheapest possible advertising price range for an ex-terrestrial broadcast channel. You can expect to pay between £500 – £2000 on late night shows such as Gordon Ramsay’s Hotel Hell and The Last Leg.

Channel 5

Channel 5 offers the lowest priced advertising on a national terrestrial channel according to For small businesses on a strict budget, Channel 5 offers an affordable solution to reach a large demographic. According to statistics on Channel 5’s website, 40 million people tune in to watch its shows every month. It currently ranks as the third largest channel in the UK that broadcasts commercials and tv advertising rates start as low as £500 for a 30 second ad slot.

Channel 5’s breakfast TV primarily consists of children’s cartoons and advertising at this time is ideal to reach young children and their families. An ad slot to broadcast a television commercial alongside shows such as Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine will cost between £500 – £1000.

Average tv advertising costs on C5’s daytime tv range from £750 – £1800 to air alongside shows such as the Jeremy Vine Show and soaps such as Home and Away. A perfect opportunity to reach housewives and husbands that stay at home to work or look after their children.

Advertising at peak times on C5 can be purchased to air a tv advertisement alongside popular shows such Cash in the Attic and Police Interceptors. Ad time in commercial breaks at this time typically cost between £2100 to £4600 for a 30 second ad and can be uses to reach a wide audience for a fraction of the cost that ITV offers.

The cost to advertise on C5’s Night time tv schedule will cost between £500 – £2000 to run an ad during real life dramas such as 999: Critical Condition and their live late night Casino betting shows. Tv advertising at this time typically reaches younger adults between 18 – 40.

Sky Channels and Cable Tv

Cable Tv channels offer a subscription based service to access many more digital channels than just the free ex-terrestrial channels. As such the audience figures are typically much smaller than broadcast tv, but can allow advertisers access to a specific audience and a target demographic. With greatly reduced viewership on smaller digital channels, advertising rates are accordingly much cheaper. Cable tv offers an opportunity for businesses with a small ad spend budget a cost efficient means to run a tv ad over an extended period. With just under one thousand to choose from, advertising rates range from as little a £5 for a 30 second ad on channels with limited mass appeal whereas a commercial on Sky costs as much as £1200 on its premier station, Sky One. It is worth noting that ex-terrestrial stations also have other digital channels that belong to the same network. These smaller digital channels such as E4 and ITV 2 and 3 offer greatly reduced advertising rates to more specific demographics.

Below we have compared the prices of two different channels, Sky One, which attracts around 24 million viewers each quarter and The Discovery Channel which is a smaller digital channel that attracts 7.5 million viewers each quarter. We have chosen these two to demonstrate the wide range of prices that are also offered by the other channels.

To advertise on Sky One’s breakfast tv you can expect to pay advertising rates of between £70 – £190 for a 30 second advert. Advertise at this time to run your ad alongside superhero drama shows such as The Flash and Supergirl. Comparatively, a smaller channel like Discovery can cost just £10 – £30 to advertise on shows such as Deadliest Catch and Wheeler Dealers.

Daytime tv rates on Sky One rise slightly to between £180 – £380 to run a tv ad in between re-runs like Hawaii 5-0 and MacGyver. Alternatively advertising on Discovery costs about £20 – £60 to run an ad on informative shows such as Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail and Homestead Rescue.

Sky One’s peak time costs anywhere between £800 – £1200 to run an ad according to Sky One’s most popular shows at this time are re-runs of hit sci-fi drama Stargate: SG1 and Carl Pilkington’s An Idiot Abroad. Discovery offers peak time rates that cost around £24 – £100 to run a 30 second tv ad during shows such as Outback Truckers and Fast N’ Loud.

Television advertising rates at night for Sky one run for between £30 – £75. Sky One’s nightly schedule includes reality tv police shows such as Brit Cops and Road Wars. Discovery can offer you a time slot with a cost of just £5 – £20 to broadcast your ad along re-runs of its most popular shows.

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