November and December are two months of the year when we typically see big retailers and brands dominate the TV market and increase their marketing spends in the run-up to Christmas. This increase in demand pushes the costs up for the rest of the market, making Q4 a more expensive time to spend on TV versus earlier in the year. However, in the TV world, December can be seen as two separate periods in terms of advertiser spend, pricing and also audience viewing. The month is usually split from the 1st to 17th December (pre-Christmas) and then 18th December to 3rd January (post-Christmas). However, these dates aren’t set in stone and will differ depending on sales houses and deals.
A lot of brands come off TV in the week before Christmas, creating a sudden drop in demand. We also see viewing figures increase, particularly versus average Monday to Friday impacts, as people take their Christmas annual leave from work and watch more TV!
This chart shows daily adult impacts across December 2019 and January 2020. This change in supply and demand creates an opportunity for pricing negotiations with sales houses.
Not only do all impacts increase over the festive period, but we also see a shift in viewing amongst different demographics and age ranges, particularly across daytime time bands. The chart below demonstrates how all station indexing to ABC1 adults (between 9am and 5.30pm) increases for 2 weeks, as high as weekend indexing.
All Response Media viewpoint
2020 has obviously not followed previous years’ trends thanks to the global pandemic. England is now back in lockdown until at least the 2nd December, however, this time around we haven’t seen the same reactions in terms of advertiser and TV spend that we saw in March and April. Advertisers are continuing with their planned November and December spends, and we may even see an increase in online retailer spends with the high street currently being closed.
Sales houses are expecting TV viewing to increase with more people at home, so there possibly will be more pricing negotiations to be had in November and December compared to previous years, with increased ‘supply’ in the market. However, despite all these changes in 2020, we still endorse that the ‘post-Christmas’ period provides a great opportunity for our clients, from both a direct response and brand point of view due to several reasons:
- Price: Increases in supply (viewing) and decreases in demand (advertising) open up pricing negotiations between agencies and sales houses. As an agency, ARM often negotiate some very favourable pricing, particularly across Channel 4 and Sky, where we can achieve 70% reductions in pricing versus the rate card.
- Audience: As shown above, the ABC1 adults index increases over this period, particularly across daytime, meaning a greater discount on audience pricing conversions if you are buying your airtime against an adult cost per thousand (CPT). Other audience indexing, including young viewers, increases over this period so it is worth checking your relevant target audience viewing figures accordingly.
- Station expansion/testing: With lower costs, comes lower risk. So post-Christmas is a good time to test new stations and expand your station mix. Factoring in that we may not see the same response rates over this period, we still see an overall strong cost per results.
- Awareness: If you are planning to advertise on TV in January, it’s a good chance to get your brand on TV a bit earlier, potentially beating competition and maximising share of voice. Generating awareness in this period will only help any January TV efficiencies.
We often see great success from this period across many different client categories, so if you haven’t already considered post-Christmas as part of your TV marketing budget, please speak to your team about the options available.
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