Average Commercial Price on Cable Drops 9% in Q4 Amidst Soft Scatter Market

Price Up 5% on Broadcast
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Primetime ratings on the broadcast networks are down, but the cost of 30-second spots was up in the fourth quarter.

According to an analysis by media agency TargetCast tcm using data from SQAD Inc.'s NetCosts database, the average commercial cost $122,734 in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $123,824 in 2011.

On cable, the average spot on one of the top 15 networks in adults 25 to 54 was down 9% to $17,123, the agency said.

"Despite factors such as declining broadcast ratings, the growth of cable, and a less than booming economy, demand for network television seems to be holding," Gary Carr, senior VP and executive director of national broadcast at TargetCast, said in a statement.

The decline in cable prices was likely caused by a soft scatter market, the agency said. Cable sells more of its commercial inventory in the scatter market than broadcast does.

Among the broadcasters, commercials cost the most on Fox, with an average of $179,375. ABC's spots averaged $124,938 and CBS' cost $123,824. NBC's commercial prices were up 19% to $90,043 in primetime, according to the agency. That figure does not include NBC's Sunday Night Football, the top rated series on TV.

On cable, ESPN had the priciest spots at $54,415, followed by TBS at $24,040.