How Much Does a TV Commercial Cost in 2024?

Last Updated: May 20, 20248 min readCategories: Marketing, TV Advertising

Understanding the TV advertising cost in 2024 is essential for marketers planning their media budgets. Whether you’re a seasoned advertiser or new to the scene, knowing how much it costs to make a commercial can significantly influence your marketing strategy.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors that affect the cost of TV advertising, from production to airtime, providing you with a comprehensive guide to budgeting for a TV ad.

How Much Does a TV Commercial Cost?

On average, the cost ranges from $1,000 for basic local commercials to over $1,000,000 for high-budget national campaigns. But, there is no one-size-fits-all TV advertising cost. There are a variety of factors to consider.

The cost of a TV commercial is influenced by production elements like the cast, crew, and location of your shoot. The duration and frequency of the TV ad also play a significant role in determining the final price. We’ll discuss all the cost drivers in detail later in the article.

Cost to Produce a TV Commercial

First, let’s discuss the video production element. The production of a TV commercial is a multifaceted process that encompasses various stages, each critical to the successful creation and distribution of the advertisement.

Planning & Development

This stage involves setting the foundation for the commercial through strategic planning and creative conceptualization. Some tasks in this phase include:

  • Market Research: Analyzing the target audience to tailor the commercial’s message and approach.
  • Creative Conceptualization: Developing unique ad ideas and selecting the most compelling one.
  • Agency Selection: Choosing a suitable advertising agency or production team to execute the project.
  • Scriptwriting: Crafting the narrative or message of the commercial in a written format.
  • Budgeting and Scheduling: Allocating resources and timing for each phase of the commercial production.


Pre-production is dedicated to preparing all elements necessary to ensure a smooth filming process. Some items in this stage include:

  • Casting: Selecting actors who best fit the roles and represent the target demographic.
  • Location Scouting: Finding the ideal settings that match the script’s requirements and securing access.
  • Permit Acquisition: Obtaining all necessary legal permissions to shoot at various locations.
  • Schedule Planning: Organizing the timeline for shooting, accounting for actor availability and location access.
  • Design Finalization: Approving final designs for costumes, props, and sets to ensure consistency with the commercial’s theme.


During video production, the commercial is filmed, capturing all visual and audio elements needed for the final product. This stage includes:

  • Lighting and Camera Setup: Installing and adjusting lighting and camera equipment to capture the best footage.
  • Directing: Guiding actors and crew to fulfill the creative vision of the commercial.
  • Filming: Executing the shoot according to the planned schedule and script.
  • Sound Management: Capturing and adjusting on-set audio to ensure high-quality sound recordings.
  • Logistics Coordination: Managing day-to-day operations on set, including catering and transport for the crew.


Post-production focuses on editing and enhancing the filmed footage to create the final version of the commercial. This process includes:

  • Video Editing: Cutting and assembling raw footage to form the commercial’s narrative flow.
  • Visual Effects: Adding digital enhancements or effects to improve the visual appeal of the commercial.
  • Audio Mixing: Blending voiceovers, music, and sound effects to achieve the desired auditory impact.
  • Color Correction: Adjusting the color tones and contrasts to ensure visual consistency throughout the commercial.
  • Final Rendering: Processing the edited commercial into various formats suitable for broadcasting and distribution.

Marketing & Distribution

This stage ensures that the commercial reaches its intended audience through effective distribution and marketing strategies. Expect the following items in this phase:

  • Channel Selection: Identifying the most effective television and digital platforms for airing the commercial.
  • Media Buying: Purchasing ad slots that align with the target audience’s viewing habits.
  • Digital Strategy: Planning online release tactics, including social media teasers and cross-platform promotion.
  • Performance Monitoring: Tracking the commercial’s reach and impact through audience analytics.
  • Strategy Adjustment: Refining marketing approaches based on initial performance data to maximize reach and engagement.

Cost to Air a TV Advertisement

The cost to air a TV advertisement depends on multiple factors that determine its reach and visibility, which vary based on audience targeting and placement. We now know the cost drivers for producing the commercial. Now, let’s discuss the cost drivers for getting it in front of your target audience.


Advertising costs can differ dramatically based on the region, as local, regional, and national markets have unique pricing structures. Ads in larger markets like New York or Los Angeles are more expensive than those in smaller cities or rural areas.


Different TV networks charge varying rates due to differences in audience demographics and reach. Major networks with nationwide coverage and premium content typically charge more than niche or local networks.

Time of Day

The time slot in which an ad airs significantly impacts its cost, with prime-time slots (usually between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.) being the most expensive. In contrast, morning or late-night slots tend to be more affordable.

Day of Week

Weekdays generally have lower costs for ad placements than weekends because of variations in audience size and behavior. Sundays often attract the highest costs due to popular shows and sports events.

Quantity of Expected Viewers

Commercials aired during popular events like the Super Bowl or during top-rated shows come at a premium due to the high volume of expected viewers. Smaller audience segments can significantly reduce advertising costs.

Commercial Length

Longer commercials, such as 60-second spots, are more expensive than shorter ones like 15- or 30-second ads due to the increased airtime required. Advertisers often balance length with budget and messaging needs.


Running an ad multiple times often leads to volume discounts, reducing the per-ad cost. However, higher frequency in prime slots may still incur substantial expenses, so strategic planning is crucial.

National vs Local TV Costs

National and local TV ad costs differ significantly, driven by their distinct audiences and market characteristics. Below, we’ll break down a few of the cost drivers that differ between them.

National TV Ad Costs

National TV ads generally have high costs due to their broader reach and prominence. Some factors influencing price are:

  • Syndicated Programming: Airing ads during syndicated shows with large followings significantly increases costs.
  • Industry Competition: High competition among national brands in certain industries raises ad prices.
  • Exclusive Sponsorships: Securing exclusive sponsorships for major televised events or shows demands a premium.
  • Global Brand Recognition: Advertisers aiming for worldwide brand recognition often pay higher fees for strategic placements.
  • Production Standards: National networks often have higher standards for ad quality, which can increase production expenses.

Local TV Ad Costs

Local TV advertising tends to be more affordable due to smaller audience sizes and reduced competition. The following factors can influence local TV advertising rates:

  • Market Penetration: Costs vary by the advertiser’s market share and penetration in the specific local region.
  • Local Demographics: Ads targeting local demographics with niche interests can offer cheaper placements.
  • Community Sponsorships: Sponsoring local events, news segments, or weather reports can lower advertising rates.
  • Regional Discounts: Local networks may offer discounted bundles for companies advertising across several regional stations.
  • Cross-Promotions: Joint marketing campaigns with local businesses or organizations can reduce costs through shared expenses.

Type of TV Advertising Used

Believe it or not, not all mediums for getting on television are created equal. Different types of TV advertising offer unique opportunities and challenges that can impact campaign costs.

Connected TV Advertising

Connected TV advertising, also known as streaming advertising, is a branch of OTT advertising that reaches viewers through streaming services or internet-connected devices. Some potential costs unique to this medium are:

  • Data Analytics: More advanced data collection for audience insights increases analytics costs.
  • Platform Partnerships: Partnerships with specific streaming platforms can result in exclusivity fees.
  • Ad Blockers: The need to overcome ad-blocking technology sometimes requires more strategic spending on creative development.

Related: OTT vs. CTV Advertising: What’s The Difference?

Linear TV Advertising

Linear TV advertising refers to traditional, real-time broadcasting on network and cable channels. A few potential cost drivers for linear options such as cable TV advertising are:

  • Channel Loyalty: Viewers loyal to specific networks drive up the price of ads aired on those channels.
  • Live Programming: Advertising during live events like sports can demand a premium for access to viewers.
  • Commercial Break Exclusivity: Securing exclusive or priority slots in a commercial break may incur additional fees.

Addressable TV Advertising

Addressable TV advertising uses technology to target specific audience segments within standard broadcasts. This advanced form of linear advertising may see the following unique costs:

  • Household Targeting: Costs increase with refined targeting based on household demographics and viewing habits.
  • Segmentation Complexity: More complex audience segmentation requires sophisticated software, raising technology expenses.
  • Platform Integration: Integrating campaigns across multiple addressable platforms requires substantial coordination and investment.

Cable TV Advertising

Cable TV advertising specifically targets viewers who subscribe to cable television services. Expect a few of these expenses to occur if using this medium:

  • Subscription Model: Costs vary based on the number of subscribers in each region or market.
  • Bundled Programming: Networks may bundle several channels together, requiring advertisers to buy a larger ad package.
  • Local Channel Placement: Targeting specific local channels within cable networks involves additional market research costs.

TV Advertising Costs: Final Thoughts

In 2024, understanding the cost of TV advertising is crucial for marketers aiming to allocate their budgets effectively. Various factors, from production to airtime and the type of TV platform, shape the overall expenses of making and airing a commercial.

By considering national and local pricing dynamics, the differences between connected, linear, addressable, and cable TV, and each stage of production, advertisers can develop strategic campaigns that maximize their ROI.

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