The titanic Super Bowl advertising franchise now extends well beyond TV. While big auto and beverage companies still dominate ad slots, digital upstarts are grabbing seats at the table.
Meanwhile, Super Bowl ads -- seeking to engage viewers with mini-narratives -- have generally become longer…
…and more expensive to air...
...due to the Super Bowl's huge and growing live audience. A record 114 million people -- or about half of U.S. households -- watched the Super Bowl on TV last year, according to Nielsen data. For comparison's sake, "Sunday Night Football" averaged 22.5 million viewers while the "Game of Thrones" season finale had 8 million.
That growth has occurred even as overall TV viewership has declined and as TV advertising is quickly ceding ground to digital.
The Super Bowl's advantage is that it's an event that still captures the attention of a massive, deeply attentive audience. Super Bowl ads and their accompanying publicity cause web traffic to advertisers' sites to spike after the game.
Network TV can still charge more per ad than digital platforms. In 2015, the average cost per 1,000 ad impressions on network TV was about $48, versus an average cost of $24 for in-stream video ads online, according to Magna Global.
YouTube, a big competitor to TV for ad dollars, is fertile ground for Super Bowl ads. YouTube's audience engages repeatedly with those ads, so the ads tend to have a longer shelf life on YouTube than anywhere else. And that YouTube audience has grown sharply recently:
2016 will be an even bigger year for Super Bowl ad spending, with advertisers forking over $5 million for each 30-second ad, up from $4.4 million in 2015. Advertisers spent a total of $345 million on Super Bowl ads last year and are expected to spend even more this year.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.
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