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Business: Support Materials: Advertising costs


How do I find out about TV advertising rates?

TV advertising costs information is not so easy to find because the costs are negotiable, and depend upon the length of the advert, current channel ratings, the length of time the ad will run for, the target market and lots of other variables. 

Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, and is a good website to get you started if you're interested in TV advertising.

      - There's some figures for total TV advertising expenditure for some top brands in the monthly TV report


Some TV viewing figures are available without a subscription through the BARB website, the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board.

If you choose to use the figures that are freely available, please bear in mind that the time periods for figures made available for free on the website are subject to chance.  It's really important to note down exactly when you viewed them and what the URL was for your references - consider printing a copy to make sure you can have the exact figures you used to refer back to.

Finding out how much advertising costs

Finding out how much advertising costs can be tricky when you don't actually want to buy any, but here's some tips to get you started:

1) Lots of information is available through the websites of major companies that sell advertising.  For instance, CBS Outdoor's website contains lots of prices for adverts on buses, London Undergroud, railways and in shopping centres, and you can find out about poster and billboard advertising costs with JCDecaux's site.

2) Individual newspapers often have their advertising rates on their own websites - try using a search engine to find them with keywords like 'Guardian advertising information' or 'Financial Times advertising information.'

3) The Library subscribes to a database called BRAD which contains lots of information about advertising on lots of different types of media, usually including rates, from tiny local newspapers right up to big TV stations and new media.  Logging in is slightly different from other types of resources - follow the instructions from the link given, and go to the Enquiry Desk if you're having trouble.

Top Tip: If you're interested in advertising costs with a particular magazine or other company, search the internet using the name and 'advertising rates', 'media pack' or 'rate card'.  e.g. marie claire rate card, times media pack.

Don't forget about online advertising - if a popular website uses advertising, then there will be a link, often at the very bottom of the homepage, that will take you to their rates page. 

e.g. has a very small 'Advertise' link in the very bottom right hand corner of their page.

Major search engines usually make money from advertising, too - for instance, Google Adwords, or Microsoft Advertising through Bing.

Journal articles

Don't forget that other academics will have researched topics like this before you!

Have a look for articles in Business Source Complete and other databases to help you with your coursework.

Consider your key words before you start, and don't forget to make a note of what you've used and any new key words you come across to help you as you're going along.

Other advertising information

You might also want to look at WARC - World Advertising Research Centre, offering case studies, articles, research papers and other materials on advertising. WARC combines its own content with that of respected industry partners worldwide and provides detailed solutions to real marketing challenges.