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Thinkbox: U.K. TV Ad Revenue Sees First Drop in Seven Years


TV advertising revenue in the U.K. totaled £5.11 billion ($7.07 billion) in 2017, down 3.2 percent on the record high set in 2016, according to figures provided to Thinkbox by the British commercial broadcasters.

The decrease in TV advertising revenue—caused by ongoing economic and political uncertainty—followed seven consecutive years of growth in the U.K. Figures from the U.K. broadcasters suggest that Q4 2017 saw around a 2 percent overall increase in TV spend year on year. The Advertising Association/WARC predict that TV advertising in the U.K. will return to annual growth again in 2018, forecasting a 1.5 percent increase in total investment.

There were 785 new or returning advertisers on TV. This figure represents the number of brands that advertised on TV for the first time or returned to TV after a gap of at least five years.

Based on 2017 data from Nielsen, online businesses—including brands such as Amazon, Trivago, Google and Purple Bricks—invested a total of £682 million ($944 million) in TV advertising, 0.3 percent less than in 2016. Despite cuts in other categories, online businesses—which in 2016 became the biggest spenders on TV—remained strong in their TV investment.

Lindsey Clay, chief executive of Thinkbox, said: “Post-recession, TV advertising in the U.K. had seven consecutive years of growth. But TV hyper-reacts to the economy, good or bad, and recent uncertainty saw growth stall in 2017. That growth is now returning.

“The pendulum is swinging back to TV. We have more proof than ever that TV advertising drives business growth and outperforms all other forms of advertising. TV is a proven, trusted, high-quality environment for brands.

“And TV’s strengths and unique assets have been thrown into even sharper relief recently following the much-publicized scandals and loss of trust in some areas of online advertising. Advertisers are re-assessing where they advertise and TV is well placed to capitalize.”

About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at


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