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The Future Of TV Ad Sales Isn't Sunny, Get The Details

Whatever steps it took you to get to reading this story right now, your net-browsing session has probably put at least a couple of ads in your face, possibly while you’re looking away from a commercial playing on your TV, because ads are everywhere. But the world of advertising may see a huge change coming in the future, as it’s believed that TV ad spending will be eclipsed by digital ad spending relatively soon.

According to forecasts made by Magna Global, 2015 was a particularly troublesome year for TV ad sales, which are expected to see a decrease globally for the first time ever in a non-recession year. And it isn’t expected to get any better. Of 2015’s $503 billion global ad market, TV ads account for 38.4 percent, and that number is expected to go down to 38 percent in 2016. I can’t imagine what would have to happen in order to get that number back in the positive direction thereafter.

The changing of the guard between TV ads and digital ads will come in the next year or two, as it’s expected digital media in the U.S. will bring $68 billion in ad sales in 2016, with TV expected to hit $66 billion. And what’s more, instead of digital just building up against TV independently, it looks like companies are taking funding out of the TV ad-space and prioritizing that money for digital. According to The New York Times, Magna Global’s Vincent Letang says that this is basically the first time they’ve ever seen that kind of behavior, as companies of late had been taking money away from print budgets and shifting it to digital.

Things are even more diversified when you look closer at how digital sales are being handled. Expectations see mobile ads taking 50.2 percent of advertising on the Internet by 2018, which will be the first time that mobile would account for more than desktop ads. Times, they are a-changing.

It’s an inevitability that couldn’t possibly be avoided, as trends have shifted and habits have adapted to the Internet being such a pervasive and entertainment-ready force. Plus, digital ads are generally cheaper to put out than TV ads, so that’s a no-brainer. Things will probably switch gears on that front as online ads become the biggest market. ‘Mo money, ‘mo money, ‘mo money.

I wonder if companies like Hulu and YouTube going ad-free for certain subscriptions does anything to affect those numbers, or if the advertising numbers are the same for those companies either way. It’s not the kind of question that keeps me up at night, but if I do happen to be up to late, I’ll just click on this ad for Unisom, the #1 pharmacist-recommended over-the-counter sleep-aid brand.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.