A graph to remember (we hope)

A picture is allegedly worth a thousand words, though of course moving pictures with sound (aka TV) are worth even more.

Sadly we don’t have any TV to make our point here, so a picture will have to do. It shows what each medium’s share of total advertising has been since 1995, according to the official Advertising Association/WARC figures:


Percentage of Share by medium of total ad revenue

The most obvious story in this picture is the relationship between the internet sector’s spectacular growth (and we have forced ourselves not to split the internet into its component parts – see why we wouldn’t usually here) and print advertising’s decline – although print remains the biggest single media sector by a whisker and did register an increase in revenue last year.

A less obvious story, and the one that we want to make sure is not overlooked, is that boring green line running through the middle showing TV’s share over the last 17 years. There are a couple of points to make about it.

First the hard numbers: TV’s share of advertising peaked in 2000 but 2010 came within a cigarette paper of matching it. Last year TV advertising revenue (inc sponsorship but excluding online TV) grew by 16% to reach revenue of £4.3 billion gross. This was against a market average increase of 6.9%. This increase meant that TV’s share of the total UK adverting market reached 26.9%, up from 25.6% in 2009, and that it was the third year in succession that TV has increased its share of total advertising revenue in the UK.  

But everyone already knows TV had a good 2010 – or at least I hope they do. However this has not stopped some still flogging the old ‘TV advertising is being subsumed by the internet’ story.  An added irony is that one of the fastest growing parts within the internet number is online video, of which online TV represents the lion’s share of its £54m.

This graph makes it clear that linear TV and online are growing together and have been doing so for the last three years. TV’s growth is less eye-catching of course, but then it is a more mature market.

So I’m allowing myself to hope that this graph will help end the deluded notion that the internet is stealing TV’s lunch and will re-emphasise their happy co-existence and complementarity, though I tediously maintain they are really not equivalents.

For the record, the AA/WARC figures for 2010 break down as follows (the figures are gross):

* Print: £4.3 billion (26.9%, down from 30.2% in 2009)
* TV: £4.3 billion (26.9%, up from 25.6%)
* Internet: £4.1 (25.6%, up from 24.4%)
* Outdoor: £880 million (5.5%, up from 5.4%)
* Radio: £523 million (3.3%, down from 3.5%)
* Cinema: £182 million (1.1%, down from 1.2%)

(If you found that graph useful, there are some more here showing the trends in ad revenue.)

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  • Chris Worrell

    What happens to the green and turquoise lines when big brands (the Unilever, P+G’s of this world) make their way onto the internet, both through display, social and video?


    I think you’ll find they are there already Chris. Unilever famously spends 30% of its ad money online. TV is growing partly because of the many new brands using it, and online brands in particular.

  • Chris Worrell

    I must have missed that! http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/sectors/financialservices/article/1061112/Top-100-online-advertisers-Brands-rein-online-display-adspend/
    Will be keeping an eye on this chart though – it certainly is interesting. Quite literally at something of a crossroads. Has digital peaked? Will press continue to decline? Can TV continue to hold share so successfully? Thanks for posting

  • Matthew Charlton

    Tess, brilliant share thanks. It confirms what everyone is feeling. For me with out question the debate is not is anyone using tv but are there enough good formats for advertising to thrive. The Super Bowl has provided an incredible platform for ads to be part of the occasion and we have seen a little of this with the X Factor over here. These big family viewing events that take TV out of micro niches that fuel the perception of its demise. But the BBC has on the whole I think better formats right now in Strictly and the Apprentice and we need more. The thing that often gets over looked is nobody tunes into watch the ads, nor ever has done. They watch programmes. The better the programmes the better the ads. The more unifying the programme the more unifying the ads can be. Anyway thats my 2pence! Great chart thanks

  • Grilla Login

    Tess, it looks like the snout of a Blue whale pal of mine so, no, I won’t forget it. [PS – He goes by the name of “Bluey.”]


    Chris, I’m afraid that Marketing mag feature was rather misleading being based on Neilsen data which only measures online display (about a third of total online?) and then not very reliably. The IAB will tell you that online display actually grew faster than search last year for the first time in a while so wide of the mark.
    Matthew, I confess to being bemused about people’s concern about TV fragmentation. Total linear TV viewing was higher than it’s ever been last year so if a programme that got 10 m viewers 10 years ago now only gets 6m you know 2 things 1) the 6m people are watching because they really want to and 2) the other 4m have found something to watch that they prefer. That seems to me to be better for everyone including advertisers who can now segment more tightly. Wouldn’t you have liked to advertise to the 500k people watching BBC4’s The Killing? Well Sky Atlantic can offer you similarly passionately engaged drama viewers for Treme and many other channels and programmes do the same. You can get just as many people to watch your ad at the same moment by road-blocking channels and families are sharing TV together in the same space as much as they ever did which is where most brand conversations happen.

  • Matthew Charlton

    Tess thanks for responding. I am not sure I would prefer a more highly targeted option actually! I do agree though that you reach people across audiences and channels. Somethings float up above specific audiences into general culture. I d like advertising to do that more. I guess I still believe that great programmes get big audiences and I d rather that than more and more channels. May be though I am on old fashioned boy!