It’s abundantly clear where the money in the movie industry comes from: ticket and DVD sales. However, the economics of television is usually less direct. If you stop to think about it then you’ll probably recognise that advertising is the real bank-roller but how much is the advertising industry worth at this point?
When I was younger, the adverts were a vaguely irritating disruption to whatever I was watching. Now, an advert can raise more discussion than the shows that they run in between. Just look at the John Lewis Christmas ad – this year’s it will first be aired on Friday evening. Why do I know that about a television advert? At a time where one of the biggest international political events is taking place, mainstream media is covering which song will accompany a department store’s self-promotion.
Maltesers ran a series of adverts throughout the Paralympics with disabled actors that was supposed to highlight how disabled people aren’t any different to able-bodied people. The ads received a largely positive reception and enough news coverage that they’re my most distinct memory of the Paralympics despite watching them from start to end. I couldn’t give you the name of a single medallist but I can describe the distinct ads from the Maltesers campaign.
Advertising is an inextricable part of the television experience but as TV gets bigger and bigger how much money are they paying to sustain that. A large number of the shows that go to Netflix boast of the fact that Netflix are able to finance their visions: this summer’s The Get Down was $10 million an episode; The Crown was a similar price. Network channels want to compete so how much do they charge for a 30 second ad?
In recent years we have seen the rise of professional vloggers and bloggers: people who make their living off of advertising money. Along with that success, have been outsiders that complain about the money that these people make for “doing nothing”. However, the fact is, you can see the amount of views that these people pull in every single month. Any advert or sponsorship that they promote is seen by millions of people – a proportion of who will go on to buy that product. They sell a lifestyle.
Our world is a consumerist one which means that advertising is worth the investment. In terms of actual numbers, ABC are pressing for $2.1 million for a 30-second spot during next year’s Oscars and a 30-second advert in this year’s Superbowl cost around $5 million.
Essentially, the advertising industry is powerful: I can’t browse a webpage without my computer then showing me that one item I looked at for the next week. The question is whether or not this is terrifying. In my personal opinion, I would say no. I’m of the generation where technology has always been our reality: as long as I can remember, it has been developing and getting better. I happily put my details on the Internet; I love open communication and I think that targeted advertising only becomes a negative thing when you lack the control to say no.
Do you enjoy the ads? Do you think that they have become too invasive? Let me know in the comments.