Art & Commerce

Watching TV Television is the largest of advertising media, attracting about 38 percent of all the money spent for ad space and time around the world. That’s pretty much the medium’s share in the U.S., and, like the global average, it’s been rising steadily for years. As a statistic, an average can conceal as much as it illuminates, so it’s a good idea to peek below the surface. According to Zenith Media’s latest Forecast study, TV’s position in three of the 47 tabulated markets is undergoing material change. In Greece, spending on TV fell from two-thirds of all outlays to less than half last year. Several things account for this, including an apparent crackdown on “pirate” telecasters, who, because they don’t pay taxes on their ad sales or royalties on the video movies they often air, enjoy a price advantage over legitimate operators. In contrast, in India, TV’s share jumped from 28 percent in 1995 to 42 percent last year. The biggest gains are coming from satellite services, often relayed through cable systems. These networks entice the smaller but very attractive upscale end of the viewing population, drawing sponsors that plug expensive products and services, such as telecommunications, computers and home electronics. -Alan Gottesman (westendal is principal of West End Consulting.

While television commands 38 percent of all ad dollars spent worldwide, results in individual countries can fluctuate wildly. The big drop expected this year in Venezuela, for instance, reflects the adoption of accurate bookkeeping.

Source: Zenith Media. *Estimated