Could your business afford to advertise on TV?

Advertising on TVThanks to the proliferation of TV channels, it is now cheaper than ever to advertise on television. For growing firms with a regional customer base, it could be time to think about getting on air, says David Gent

Thanks to more choice of channels than ever, new on-demand services and digital recording, we are now watching more television than ever before. The latest figures from BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) reveals that UK viewers are watching over 25 hours of TV a week.

Yet all this has come about despite doom-laden press headlines predicting the decline of commercial TV.

And, according to thinkbox, we also see 47 TV ads per day exposing the myth that everyone always flicks past ads or makes a cuppa in the break. Of course, watching catch-up television or recorded programmes does allow viewers to skip the ad breaks. Even so, it's clear that TV ads are still having an impact on the British consumer.

Small businesses on the small screen

But what about SMEs? How can small firms afford to advertise on the small screen?

There’s no doubt that the majority of small businesses don’t have the budget for TV. However, growing businesses — especially those with a regional customer base — may be surprised how cheap it can be to advertise on television.

We have moved from a handful of broadcasters delivering mass audiences, to hundreds of digital channels. If you’re a smaller brand or a first-time advertiser, then fragmented TV audiences are your entrée to the marketing power of TV. That’s because lower ratings mean cheaper airtime.

Regional opportunities on TV

Let us assume, then, that you are a modest consumer-facing advertiser with a largely regional catchment area or distribution territory. You could be a retailer or a tourist attraction. In that case, the regionalised ITV1 network provides a highly affordable marketing platform.

Depending on the region, your airtime budget could be as little as £5,000 and you could advertise in top-rating programmes at a fraction of network cost. Admittedly, in more heavily populated regions such as Carlton, you should probably multiply that budget by ten. On the other hand, the London options on Five or ITV Breakfast TV would reduce the spend and give more than comparable coverage.

TV may not be for the smallest of SMEs but if you are a growing business with a regional customer base, TV may be within your grasp and could help you reach large numbers of viewers in your area.

For more information, see the Resources box on the right.