TV Advertising in the UK

Use TV advertising to revolutionise your brand’s impact: Master the art of TV advertising for maximum viewer engagement. Grow your business with TV advertising.

Updated on: Nov 29th, 2023

A question we’re asked a lot: How much does it cost to advertise on TV?

Answer: There are two television advertising costs: buying adverts the spots between TV shows in the UK. Rates for the smaller digital channels start around £70 to £180 for daytime and £160 to £330 for peak time. TV adverts during Good Morning Britain or Lorraine can cost between £3,500 – £4,300. And production costs for actually making the TV advert. These can range from £30,000 for a straightforward animated TV commercial to £250,000 and above for a blockbuster TV advert with top stars and a famous music track.

TV Advertising

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How much does it cost to advertise on TV?
how much does a tv advert cost

TV Advertising Stats from 2021

There were a whopping 1,286 new or returning TV advertisers in 2021

New-to-TV advertisers up 53% on the pre-pandemic average

Online-born businesses increased TV investment by 42%

Up 24%
This took it to a total of £5.46 billion, up 24% on 2020 (and up 11% on pre-pandemic 2019), and represents a record level of investment in TV advertising. The previous high of £5.28 billion was in 2016.

Source – Thinkbox A year in TV 2021

Advertising on TV

Media planning is crucial to the success of your television advertising campaign. Toast build bespoke media packages to ensure the TV ads we create are seen by the right people, at the right time and on the right channels. Before setting out to build a successful TV advertising campaign, it’s important to develop a robust media planning strategy.

Deciding which TV channels best fit your brand’s demographic makes sure your TV advertising costs don’t go to waste. If you’re new to TV media planning and need more information on the process of advertising on TV, do get in touch.

tv advert cost ideas
tv advertising costs explained
tv advertising cost breakdown

Media planning guideline figures

The numbers listed are a guide to the average price paid for a 30 sec TV advert on UK TV networks. Pricing does vary throughout the year.

Advertise on ITV

Good Morning Britain or Lorraine ads cost are around £3,500 – £4,300
Daytime slots on ITV are around £3,700 to £4,700, and peak time slots can cost from £10,500 to £34,000.

If you’re looking for the most significant marketplace to show your adverts, you can’t do better than to advertise on ITV. Shows like Good Morning Britain offer one of the most extensive commercial opportunities in the UK. Whether you’re planning a massive TV advertising campaign or trying to target a micro-region, ITV allows media to be purchased flexibly.

ITV has an intelligent family of channels that help campaigns hit tighter demographics. Channels like ITV Be show mainly a reality-based output or CITV show kids programming. Picking one of the smaller ITV channels makes the cost of TV advertising a more compelling proposition for smaller brands. Whatever your market, there’s probably an ITV channel for you.

Invest in a Channel 4 advert

A 30-second slot on daytime TV can cost between £1,100 to £2,200 peak rates for shows such as Hollyoaks and Catastrophe are around £10,000 to £20,000. Channel 4 have done a great job of acquiring top-rated shows and commissioning must-watch shows like Gogglebox. Running a channel 4 advert can put your brand against great shows like Celebrity Hunted, which aired recently to a live audience of 843,000 viewers and a time-shifted audience of 489,000 TV viewers.

New to Channel 4 in 2023, Davina McCall returns with The Pill, following on from her documentary series on the menopause. She looks into contraception in the UK.

The first UK series of international hit Alone – TV’s most extreme and uncompromising survival experiment – comes to Channel 4. The six-part series sees 10 contestants dropped into the remote Northern Canadian wilderness, where each must survive entirely alone.

Back on Channel 4 in 2023, Married at First Sight, the ever-popular show which partners complete strangers at the alter! Grand Designs is back with Kevin McCloud steering viewers through the ups and downs involved in taking on a self-build. And if you’re looking for great viewing figures, there’s nothing better than The Great British Bake Off – a TV advertising institution.

As you can see from the numbers running, a Channel 4 advert is the perfect fit for brands looking to appeal to a younger audience. Many online brands are using Channel 4 adverts to gain market share in the online business arena. Many have found that social appeal can only get a brand so far. The mass appeal of TV really lights the touchpaper of sales and success.

Advertising on Channel 5 is less expensive than other networks

A slot in daytime usually costs around £800 to £1,600. Peak time ad breaks can be had for £2,500 to £4,500 in shows like Big Brother. Channel 5 is a great place for family viewing, such as All Creatures Great and Small.

Advertising on Sky

With their smaller viewing figures, the cost of advertising on TV with Sky is naturally lower, an ad slot in daytime shows on Sky costs around £150 to £250. Advertising during the peak time costs about £650 to £1,150. Sky Adsmart is a great platform that allows advertisers to target their ads to a select group of viewers. For more information about Sky see our Adsmart page.

On Sky in 2023, The Last of Us, set some 20 years after modern civilisation has been destroyed, hard-as-nails smuggler Joel is hired to smuggle 14-year-old Ellie out of an oppressive quarantine zone and away to St Mary’s Hospital.

Funny Woman, based on Nick Hornby’s book, Funny Woman takes us back in time to the height of the swinging 60s. Barbara Parker (Gemma Arterton) has just been crowned Miss Blackpool

Other digital channels can be a great place to advertise on TV, placing your brand in front of a more targeted audience:

Rates for smaller digital channels can be around £50 to £150 for daytime up to £150 to £300 for peak time. Great if you know your audience is watching those channels.

How much does a TV advert cost?

From the numbers, you can see a TV advert campaign running for a month can easily be had for £30,000. If you want to target a wider audience, you can spend £200,000 and advertise on ITV.

Budgets can go up; if you absolutely must get in front of a vast X-factor audience, you’re looking at spending millions on media. Hopefully, this has answered the question, How much is TV advertising? The other cost is production, more on that below.

*Data sourced from Thinkbox and TheDrum

cost of advertising on tv uk
tv advertising costs uk
cost of tv advertising uk

It’s all about the Return on Investment

At Toast, we always look to deliver high ROI for our clients. TV advertising is the best medium for producing not only short term returns, with an average of £1.73 returned for every £1 invested in the first 3-6 months.

Over time the cumulative effect TV advertising has on your brand’s reach increases this to an average ROI of £4.20 after three years. TV delivers 71% of total advertising-generated profit over three years despite TV currently commanding 54% of average advertising budget. - Thinkbox Profit Ability study 2017.

TV Advertising Generated Profits
*Source: ‘Profit Ability: the business case for advertising’, Nov 2017 Ebiquity ROI campaign database (Feb’14-May’17) & Gain Theory. Campaign obs: 1,954

TV advertising costs UK

A media buyer handles the process of buying advert slots on TV channels. Toast has close links with many buyers who we use to manage our media buying process. The average cost of getting one person to see your advert in the UK is around 0.6p.

TV Media Budgets

Information from an industry body Thinkbox study run in 2018 shows that over 900 advertisers spent less than £50,000 on their TV media buying budgets. Getting brands in front of huge TV audiences is no longer exclusively for well-known brands with large budgets. Advertising your company and your products next to one of the big brands in a TV advert break helps build trust in new to market companies. TV Advertising is a great way to create mass appeal, which is an important step from social media advertising into the big leagues.

Advertising on TV is becoming more accessible. The lack of platform choice in PPC advertising has started to drive costs higher, and a single click can now cost upwards of £20. This increased affordability contrasts with the changes that have been happening in Pay Per Click advertising.

BVOD Advertising – A bright new star

BVOD – Broadcaster Video-on-Demand and advertising on BVOD are great ways to reach people who watch less linear TV. BVOD adverts are often non-skippable, so your advert gets the viewers full attention without all the screen clutter which fights for attention on YouTube. According to recent data from Thinkbox, VOD watching increased by 30% in 2019.

Another key stat from the BVOD and VOD world, 40.2% of VOD watching is taking place of a TV set. -Touchpoints 2020 survey. This is important because adverts on TV are full screen, without the interruptions usually found on social media or YouTube.

TV advertising costs compared to Online Video

Information from industry body Thinkbox puts it clearly: Spot TV advertising (linear and BVOD) averages £7.78 per thousand exposures. YouTube is pretty close at £11.63. Other online video, however, is £129. The challenge for other online video is that even though the CPM for a start is pretty low, ad avoidance is easy and is very high (for example, the average in-view time for TikTok is about 3 seconds). As a result the equivalent cost for 30 seconds of viewing time goes through the roof.

Source: 2022, Thinkbox estimates using AA/WARC, Barb, ViewersLogic, IPA TouchPoints 2022

The statistics of TV watching

A 2020 report from The Global TV Group, states that:
The average viewer in the UK watched a total of 3 hours, 3 minutes of TV a day in 2020.
16-24s watch over twice as much TV on other devices than the average viewer.
TV accounts for 76% of video advertising consumption in the UK.

Tracking your ad’s effectiveness

One of the greatest revolutions in TV advertising has been the recent innovation in tracking the viewing of TV adverts. Previously the best way to measure a TV ad’s effectiveness was to use an offer code on the endframe, which could attribute sales to TV advertising. Advert tracking has now progressed to online software that can determine how well a media plan performs. Tracking ensures that your TV advertising cost is being multiplied and returned in profits.

It is possible to track the effectiveness of a TV ad campaign and make adjustments to the placements of ads. Tracking software can correlate a TV ad running with hits on a website or an increased sales spike in an E-commerce platform. Making changes to the media plan in the weeks after launch can get the best ROI from a media budget.

Getting a Direct Response

Advertising on TV is excellent at direct response (a call to action) and brand recognition. Direct response using TV advertising has become even more potent due to second screen watching. Viewers often watch TV with a tablet or smartphone nearby. A viewer seeing a URL during a direct response TV advert now has the perfect platform on hand to interact with your website.

Offering a tailored URL from the TV advert cuts down any friction a viewer might experience, rather than arriving at a website’s home page and navigating to the specific product page. A unique URL can direct the viewer straight to the product.

With a regional TV media buying strategy and DRTV advertising, unique URLs ensure the right message gets to the viewer.

*Stats sourced from Thinkbox and BARB.

Testing the market with Radio Advertising

Suppose your business isn’t quite ready for the outlay involved in TV advertising. Why not try out your marketing plan using Radio Advertising? The costs of radio advertising are much lower than TV. The UK’s vast network of local and national radio stations allows for tailored radio campaigns to reach potential customers.


Production Costs – How much does a TV advert cost?

Below you’ll find top-line packages that shows what’s achievable at different levels. TV remains the most effective form of advertising there is and is now more accessible than ever. Get in touch with one of our producers to discuss!

Intro to TV Advertising

We have extensive experience working with new-to-TV brands, managing many successful TV and digital tests. If your production budget doesn’t quite stretch to live-action, we suggest a 2D motion graphics treatment. Like the recent commercial, we produced for Alpharooms or a simple character animation like Ancestry.

how much does tv advertising costAlpharooms TV Advert
DNA results on a laptop screen
Ancestry DNA TV Advert

TV Advertising Packages for Start-ups

Our start-up packages are perfect for brands who have already successfully tested on TV and digital and are ready to make a more substantial media investment for their next campaign. At this level, we would expect to start thinking about a live-action shoot. Toast was lucky enough to work on Innocent’s first-ever TV advertising campaign. A simple shoot in a park with a chicken launched a global brand.

Innocent TV AdvertInnocent TV Advert
Joey Essex says Wallop
Varooma TV Ad

TV Packages for Challenger brands

Our challenger brands package is suited for a brand looking to transition into a household name. This level should open the doors to a more elaborate shoot, like the stop motion advert we produced for Tootle.

Aids Alliance TV advert
Aids Alliance Charity
Toy cars jumping across a tableTootle TV Commercial

TV Advertising Packages for Established brands

Our packages are for established brands looking at brand building rather than brand awareness and direct response. Further investment into production will allow for a high-end live-action shoot with very high production values or integrated 3D graphics like Cancer Research.

Woman in lab coat stands next to lab equipmentCancer Research TV Advert
Project 3 still frameCity Index TV Campaign

Working with Toast

Get in touch with Toast if you’d like to talk to Toast about TV media buying. Or you’ve got a script, and you’re wondering how much does it cost to produce a TV advert in the UK. Use the contact form on this page to tell us about your project. Visit our Briefing page to download free versions of our TV Advertising or Video Production briefing templates.


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