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Agencies forecast low to mid-single-digit gains in 2022 US TV ad spending

Media buying agencies GroupM, Zenith Media Services Inc. and MAGNA forecast low to mid-single digit advances in U.S. TV ad spending during 2022.

GroupM predicts U.S. TV ad spending will increase 6.2% to almost $74.2 billion in 2022, after posting a 4.1% increase in 2021, from pandemic-restrained levels in 2020.

The world's largest media investment company forecasts a 22% bump in spending on connected TV devices to $20.3 billion in 2022.

Lauren Hanrahan, CEO of Zenith US, Moxie and MRY, also underlined the long-term potential of connected TVs during an ad panel at the UBS Global TMT virtual conference on Dec. 6. Hanrahan said while that it can be argued that the pandemic accelerated the shift in budgets to such outlets at the expense of linear, the migration was already on track before 2019. She said there is considerable runway ahead in this segment.

Overall, Zenith expects U.S. TV ad spending to grow 4% in 2021 to almost $65.2 billion.

The latest forecast from Magna Global puts ad spending against total long-form video in the U.S. at $65.6 billion in 2021, up 6% over 2020 levels, and the buying group expects a 4% gain next year.

For long-form video in 2022, Magna sees the biggest gains coming in ad-supported video-on-demand, over-the-top video and connected TV revenue at 29%.

However, Magna calls for national broadcast and cable to expand 7% this year to $39.9 billion, before declining 5% in 2022. Local TV is expected to grow 14% next year, boosted by midterm elections and Olympic spending.

During the presentation, Vincent Letang, executive vice president and managing director of market intelligence at Magna, estimated that there would be some $7 billion in incremental spending in the political arena, up 30% from the prior midterm period. While local stations will be the primary beneficiary overall, digital outlets will secure faster growth rates, albeit against a smaller base.

NBCUniversal Media LLC's upcoming coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022 will generate some $600 million in ad revenues, 10% less than from the 2018 Winter Games from Pyeongchang, according to Letang. He said the decline will come from from the expected downturn in ratings measured against games past, as evidenced by the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics this past summer.

Zenith's Hanrahan said at the conference that consumer interest in entertainment, sports and news content has not waned, but viewing is moving to other vehicles. The company predicts that social media will count an average annual growth rate of 14.8%, making it the fastest-growing sector. In the process, ad spending against social media will reach $177 billion around the globe in 2022, exceeding television at $174 billion, according to Zenith.

Overall, GroupM raised its forecast for total 2021 global media advertising growth to 22.5%, up from a prior forecast of 19.2% in June, with both ratios excluding U.S. political ad allocations.

Noting that he looked back to data stretching to the 1970s, Brian Wieser, global president for business intelligence at GroupM, said during the ad panel, "It's possible that this is the fastest growth in the history of advertising."