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Fox Getting Up to $475K for World Cup Final Ads

By: Jon Lafayette
July 11, 2018

…Research company SQAD says advertisers have paid between $399,451 and $475,963 for 30-second spots during the broadcast of the championship’s deciding contest.

Croatia beat England 2-1 in extra time Wednesday. France topped Belgium 1-0 Tuesday.

Four years ago, when the 2014 World Cup Final aired on ABC, spots cost between $448,512 and $534,206, about 12% more than Fox is getting…

Read more at: Broadcasting & Cable.

By |July 11th, 2018|In The News, News Room|0 Comments

ABC Heats Up Summer

By: Wayne Friedman
June 27, 2018

…ABC has started the first month of the summer TV season with the best results among broadcast networks — in terms of viewership and program-specific unit advertising pricing…

According to SQAD, the advertising research company, ABC has also posted top results this summer for “The Bachelorette” in terms of 30-second unit pricing — from a low of $248,065 to a high of $295,401…

Read more at: MediaPost.

By |June 27th, 2018|In The News, News Room|0 Comments

DATA REPORT: 2018 Summer Program Premieres

The summer means it’s time to hit the beach, eat way too much ice cream, and of course, indulge in our guilty-pleasure TV shows. The SQAD Data Team looked into the ad costs for the premiere episodes of some of this season’s biggest premiers, and discovered the following comparison insights.

Of the broadcast programs we analyzed, ABC’s “The Bachelorette” came out as the leader for average unit costs with $248,065 – $295,401, showing advertisers to expect a strong showing for the 14th season. Also making a strong showing were several NBC shows including “America’s Got Talent”, “World of Dance”, and “American Ninja Warrior”, each of which brought in over $150,000 in average unit costs.

The table below ranks the shows by combination unit costs for premiere episodes, and provides the Low and High averages.

Program Network Low High
BACHELORETTE ABC $248,065 $295,401
AMERICA’S GOT TALENT NBC $222,868 $265,396
WORLD OF DANCE NBC $167,745 $199,755
MASTERCHEF FOX $111,842 $133,183
BIG BROTHER CBS $80,995 $96,451
UNDERCOVER BOSS CBS $61,998 $73,828
By |June 25th, 2018|SQAD Data Reports|0 Comments

Here’s How Much It Costs to Advertise in This Year’s NBA Finals

By: A.J. Katz
June 8, 2018

…The SQAD data team took a deep dive into the upfront data to analyze cost trends for the past five NBA Finals and put together some interesting findings.

Purchasing an ad for Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals wasn’t cheap. The high ad rate was $829,577, with a low rate of $690,909. That’s an upfront unit cost of $760,243.

According to SQAD, the cost to advertise this year versus 2017 was up 53 percent for Game 1, 26 percent for Game 2, 27 percent for Game 3, 20 percent for Game 4 and 27 percent for Game 5…

Read more at: Adweek.

By |June 8th, 2018|In The News, News Room|0 Comments

DATA REPORT: NBA Finals 5-Year Cost Trend Analysis

It’s game time! We’re right in the middle of the 2018 NBA Finals, where teams are competing in a series of best-of-seven games to determine who will be crowned the ultimate champion. In the midst of all the viewing parties and excitement, the SQAD Data Team took a dive into the upfront data for the games to analyze cost trends from the past several years.

5-Year Upfront Unit Cost Trends


2018 vs. 2014

Comparing 2018* to 2014, upfront unit costs for the NBA Final Games have increased across the board. The SQAD Data Team analyzed five years of upfront cost trends for the first five games of the NBA Finals.

Looking at ad prices for the games during this year against prices in 2014, upfront unit costs have experienced the following increases:

  • Game 1: 62%
  • Game 2: 42%
  • Game 3: 46%
  • Game 4: 48%
  • Game 5: 58%

The price for ads during Game 1 have seen the biggest jump, from an average of $429,011 – $510,155 in 2014 to $690,909 – $829,577 in 2018.

2018 vs. 2017

We also see increases for all five games when comparing this year’s games to last year’s. The cost to advertise this year is higher than 2017 by the following percentages:

  • Game 1: 53%

  • Game 2: 26%

  • Game 3: 27%

  • Game 4: 20%

  • Game 5: 27%

Again, the price for ads during Game 1 have jumped the most, from an average of $454,276 – $542,708 last year to $690,909 – $829,577 this year.

The following table breaks down the range of low and high ad costs from five years of the NBA Final Games.

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Low High Low High Low High Low High Low High
Game 1 $429,011 $510,155 $455,714 $538,426 $464,936 $557,014 $454,276 $542,708 $690,909 $829,577
Game 2 $434,258 $516,394 $432,719 $511,257 $452,202 $541,758 $490,356 $585,812 $614,139 $737,399
Game 3 $424,925 $505,297 $441,121 $521,185 $520,628 $623,736 $487,842 $582,808 $616,238 $739,920
Game 4 $414,972 $493,460 $419,444 $495,574 $458,911 $549,795 $510,960 $610,426 $609,196 $731,464
Game 5 $434,925 $517,187 $410,998 $485,594 $521,716 $625,038 $538,400 $643,208 $682,804 $819,846
*These are preliminary numbers as of June 5, 2018 – contributing advertisers are still in the process of inputting transaction buys to the SQAD MediaCosts: National system.
By |June 6th, 2018|SQAD Data Reports|0 Comments

DATA REPORT: Ad Cost Trends for “Roseanne” Reboot

Although the “Roseanne” reboot on ABC did not sail through the season without controversy, the network was able to dodge past most of the fire. It wrapped up the season with average ad unit costs 50% higher than its premiere, and took the spotlight at the freshly concluded TV upfronts. There was much for both advertisers and viewers to look forward to in the next season of the show… until it was canceled by ABC amid controversy around the show’s star, Roseanne Barr.

The SQAD Data Team pulled numbers from our MediaCosts: National data to show trends related to advertiser engagement.


Cost Trends for “Roseanne” Reboot


 Episode Date Low High
Episode 1/2 3/27/2018 $153,129 $183,863
Episode 3 4/3/2018 $129,383 $155,351
Episode 4 4/10/2018 $98,120 $117,814
Episode 5 4/17/2018 $166,274 $199,646
Episode 6 5/1/2018 $266,515 $320,005
Episode 7 5/8/2018 $160,533 $192,753
Episode 8 5/15/2018 $182,578 $219,222
Episode 9 5/22/2018 $230,051 $276,223


Cost Analysis

  • Ad costs for the show’s premiere on March 27 averaged $153,129 – $183,863.

  • From the premiere to Episode 4 (April 10), costs dipped 36% to an average of $98,120 – $117,814, after controversial remarks included in Episode 3.

  • Costs trended upwards after the dip, skyrocketing to a season high on Episode 6 (May 1). Ad costs averaged $266,515 – $320,005, 74% above the premiere average.
  • Although the show concluded on May 22 with average ad costs 14% below the peak, it wrapped up the season 50% higher than the premiere episode.

“Roseanne” vs. Other Broadcast Shows


Comparing “Roseanne” against other broadcast shows during the same time slot (8PM EST), our data reveals that its average unit costs were generally higher than those of its competition.

  • Premiere: Unit costs for “Roseanne” were 64% higher than “NCIS” on CBS and 12% higher than “The Voice” on NBC.

  • Episode 4: “Roseanne” experienced a dip in unit costs during Episode 4 (April 10), after controversial remarks made in Episode 3. During this airing, ad costs were roughly 20% lower than both “NCIS” and “The Voice.”

  • Episode 6: The show hit its peak on Episode 6 (May 1), with unit costs averaging 145% more than unit costs for “NCIS” and 83% higher than unit costs for “The Voice.”

  • Finale: The season finale episode of “Roseanne” aired on May 22, and comparing its unit costs against the other two programs on that date – the data shows it was 198% above “NCIS” and 35% above “The Voice.”

By |June 1st, 2018|SQAD Data Reports|0 Comments

‘Roseanne’ Has Short Second Life — By The Numbers

By: Wayne Friedman
May 30, 2018

…Through the show’s brief returning run, “Roseanne” debuted to big ratings, then drifted lower — all as the show’s average unit 30-second commercial pricing soared.

SQAD, the advertising research company, says a 30-second commercial in the first three original nights of the show averaged $168,496, $142,367 and $107,967, respectively. (The debut night included two half-hour episodes, which were rerun on April 1).

SQAD’s “average” price was the result of factoring in “low” and “high” pricing, per the analytics firm.

National TV advertisers on ABC then witnessed dramatically increasing prices over the next several episodes: $182,960, $293,260, $176,643, $200,900, and $253,137. SQAD says the overall “high” price for “Roseanne” was $320,005 for episode six…

Read more at: MediaPost.

By |May 30th, 2018|In The News, News Room|0 Comments

Ad Cost Impact Analysis: Upfront TV Ad Sales

Upfront TV ad sales help shield networks from controversy and advertiser boycotts, says SQAD’s cost data

The Ad Cost Impact Analysis report released by SQAD LLC, an advertising research, analytics, and media planning software company, shows how networks like NBC and Fox News can be protected from revenue fluctuations in the face of controversies (see Matt Lauer) and/or advertiser boycotts (see Laura Ingraham).

“In analyzing the data from MediaCosts: National, we can clearly see that the impact of the boycott on Laura Ingraham’s program — initiated by tweets she made after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting — was limited on the network’s bottom-line,” says SQAD Product Manager, Dan Klar. “Because so much inventory was sold in the 2017 upfronts, there was almost nothing an advertiser could do other than move their ads around on the network. It’s easy to see in the numbers that not only did Laura Ingraham weather the boycott well, her average ad price was up from before the boycott started.”

SQAD’s Ad Cost Impact Analysis for Upfronts includes insights for three popular programs that have recently experienced controversy or heightened attention. The report looks at the cost impact on “The Today Show” after revelations and allegations surfaced around Matt Lauer; the ad boycott on “The Ingraham Angle”; and the unexpected “Trump Bump” in ad values for “Fox & Friends.”

The power of the upfront buying process is clear when looking at examples like these. Networks provide themselves solid revenue consistency for the upcoming year even if a controversy takes the news cycle.

– Marc Krigsman, CEO of SQAD

“The power of the upfront buying process is clear when looking at examples like these,” comments Marc Krigsman, CEO of SQAD. “Networks provide themselves solid revenue consistency for the upcoming year even if a controversy takes the news cycle. The flip side of that coin is shown in the example of ‘Fox & Friends‘ where the network was not able to fully capitalize on their VIP viewer (Trump) until after the upfronts of 2017, when there was an obvious market cost correction based on the influence available to advertisers targeting that program.”

The full report is available for review on SQAD’s website: COST REPORT: The Impact of Upfronts on Networks


SQAD LLC has been an industry leader for more than four decades, processing more than $1 trillion in real transaction ad costs from advertising housekeeping system. Their MediaCosts data includes national broadcast, cable, and syndicated television, as well as local broadcast, cable, and Hispanic TV, radio, and out-of-home advertising. They also provide audience analytics research tools for Nielsen data through SQAD MediaLogic, and provide advertisers and agencies the mission-critical media planning software, MediaTools – a robust and flexible end-to-end media planning solution. Learn more at www.sqad.com.

By |May 29th, 2018|News Room, Press Releases|0 Comments

COST REPORT: The Impact of Upfronts on Networks

Upfronts occur every year to provide an opportunity for networks to sell their ad spots for the upcoming season. Traditionally, they take place during the last half of May but starting in 2017, they have begun as early as March and have run through May.

The upfront buying process impacts both advertisers and networks, but this report will focus on how they affect networks.

Upfronts can provide cost protection and consistency in times of social volatility and controversy, (including changes in the social trends, shifts in viewership, changes in talent, boycotts, and more) but may also limit the network’s ability to capitalize on unforeseen successes, or better-than-expected performance.

The SQAD Data Team jumped into our numbers to show recent examples that illustrate both the positive and negative effects of Upfronts on a network.

Below are three example cases that show the impact of upfronts on a network.


EXAMPLE 1: The Trump Bump for Fox & Friends

Depending on the volume sold, a network may not be able to fully capitalize on unseen ratings spikes, social interest, or attention that might otherwise temporarily drive up the market value of a program’s ads.

QUESTION: Can a single viewer (Donald Trump) impact unit costs for Fox & Friends on Fox News 


Average Before 2017 Upfronts
Average Immediately After Upfronts (Jul-Sept) % Change from Jul-Sept to Oct Average After Upfronts (Nov 2017-Apr 2018) % Difference Before vs. After Upfronts
$2,445 – $2,877 $1,983 – $2,399 82.9% $3,329 – $3,988 37.5%


Before the 2017 Upfronts

Despite the general knowledge that the newly elected U.S. President watched Fox & Friends daily, for the first six months of Trump’s presidency (January through June 2017), combination unit costs for the show remained relatively steady, hovering around the range of $2,445 – $2,877. This is because the majority of 30-second ad values had already been locked in during the 2016 upfronts.

After the 2017 Upfronts

  • Beginning in September 2017, the data shows a clear increase in unit costs as 2017 upfront purchases begin to hit the house-keeping systems.
  • By October 2017, we see the new “normal” rate appear, causing a 83% unit cost jump to an average of $3,329 – $3,988 per 30-second ad.
  • Through most of Q1 2018, the show maintained a strong year-over-year performance.
  • Despite a slight downward trend in overall network unit costs since October 2017, averages after the 2017 upfronts were 38% higher compared to averages before the upfronts.

ANSWER: Trump’s affinity for Fox & Friends had a disproportionate impact on the unit costs compared to viewership rating, illustrated by the pre- and post- upfront trends (see graph above).

While Trump’s affinity for the show was known post-inauguration, it wasn’t until after the 2017 upfronts that we saw Fox was finally able to correct market-value in unit costs. While the market-value of the ads may have increased as a result of Trump’s viewership, we can clearly see that this did not affect the unit costs until the network could reset the ad values during the 2017 upfronts.

This may illustrate how the volume of advertising time sold during the 2016 upfronts caused the combination ad values to be artificially deflated (compared to market value) and limited the network’s ability to capitalize on their VIP viewers.

Because the U.S. President holds a 4-year term, his ongoing interest in the show has allowed the network to make a market correction during the 2017 upfront buying season. With the 2018 upfront buying season in full swing, we will have to wait and see if Fox News can continue to capitalize on its captive audience.

EXAMPLE 2: Matt Lauer Allegations & Termination 

The high volume of media sold in the upfront buying season can have a revenue insulating effect for a network in times of controversy, so long as that controversy is short-lived and the network can quickly pivot from the news cycle.

QUESTION: Did the Matt Lauer controversy affect unit costs for The Today Show?

Analyzing the combination ad cost data prior to the Matt Lauer revelations in November 2017, we see that the show was already trending 12% under the previous year, with unit costs averaging between $44,502 and $52,993 during Q4 2017. The weeks following his termination saw a decline in unit costs. However, when we take a deeper dive into our SQAD data, these declines appear to be consistent with standard holiday season adjustments.

The following analysis was done for The Today Show during the 7AM-9AM time block.



Year Q4 Average Before Holidays % Drop During Holidays Q1 Average After Holidays (Rebound) % Difference Before vs. After Holidays
2017-2018 $44,502 – $52,993 -51.7% $35,634 – $42,434 -19.9%
2016-2017 $50,368 – $60,113 -46.8% $38,834 – $46,347 -22.9%
2015-2016 $50,237 – $58,997 -51.0% $40,248 – $47,266 -19.9%


We first look at the combination numbers for the show over the course of the past three years.

The Seasonal Holiday Dip

  • Q4 2017 unit costs during the holidays (Week of 12/18 to the Week of 12/25) dropped more than 50% from $43,728 – $52,072 to $21,132 – $25,164.
  • In Q4 2016, we see a 46.8% drop in unit costs during the holidays.
  • Looking back yet another year to Q4 2015, unit costs fell a similar 51% during the holidays.

Based on historical year-over-year data, the drop in unit costs around the time of the Matt Lauer controversy is most likely related to seasonal adjustments. With that said, there is something interesting to see in the recovery data after the holiday declines.

Post-Holiday Recovery

  • In Q1 2018, unit costs averaged between $35,741 and $42,561, 19.9% lower than the pre-holiday rates.
  • In Q1 2017, the post-holiday rebound was 22.9% lower than pre-season numbers.
  • The rebound in Q1 2016 was 19.9% lower than pre-holiday rates.

Year-Over-Year Recovery Performance

What’s interesting to note is that the post-holiday recovery for 2017-2018 season was better than the 2016-2017 season, narrowing the unit cost difference between the two years (see trends for the orange and blue lines in Graph 2).

  • Prior to the holiday season decline, Q4 2017 average unit costs were trending 12% less than the Q4 2016 average unit costs.
  • After the holidays, Q1 2018 unit costs came in only 8.4% under the Q1 2017 average unit costs.
  • In 2018, The Today Show improved their Q4/Q1 rebound trend by about 4% year-over-year.

We cannot specifically attribute the improved post-holiday recovery trend for Q1 2018 specifically to the speedy resolution of the Matt Lauer controversy. There are many factors in play for the Q1 2018 numbers beyond how NBC managed the revelations, one of which includes the Winter Olympic broadcast on NBC.



Year-over-Year Recovery Performance

To support the data showing a better-than-average post-holiday recovery, the scatter data from the same time period last year shows some key details about the existing market conditions before and after the Lauer controversy:

  • Before the holiday season and during the controversy, Q4 2017 scatter unit costs were trending 1.4% better than the Q4 2016 average unit costs.
  • After the holidays, the year-over-year costs improved further with Q1 2018 scatter costs soaring 16% higher than Q1 2017 costs.
  • The Today Show improved its Q4/Q1 scatter rebound trend by 15% year-over-year despite controversies surrounding Matt Lauer and the program.

The scatter year-over-year trend confirms the combination trend showing that the 2018 post-holiday season experienced a better recovery rate than the year prior. In the overall numbers, we see a better than expected post-holiday market correction in scatter ad costs directly after the Lauer issue.

ANSWER: It is unlikely the Matt Lauer controversy had a negative effect on the average unit costs for The Today Show.

Due to the overall consistency in trends analyzed across the years (in both combination and scatter), it appears that NBC was shielded from the negative effects of the controversy because of the protective power of upfront buying. It is possible that the data indicates the speed with which NBC handled the Matt Lauer revelations, combined with the added marketer interest in the network’s ad inventory during the Olympic Games, contributed to a better-than-expected Q1 performance in 2018.

EXAMPLE: The Ingraham Angle Ad Boycott of April 2018

Advertiser boycotts are meant to send a message to a network’s bottom line – forcing them to decide if the potential loss of revenue is worth maintaining the programming or personality at the center of the controversy.

QUESTION: Did Fox News lose revenue from The Ingraham Angle ad boycott?


Average Before Boycott/Break % Change During Week of Break Average After Break % Difference Before vs. After Break
$12,740 – $15,052 16.7% $14,395 – $17,007 13.0%


The Ingraham Angle on Fox News was faced with these questions when Laura Ingraham encountered advertiser pressure following a controversial Twitter comment she posted about one of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, after the shooting in February.

While advertisers pulled their ads from her program, the network still had the committed funds in form of upfront purchases made months before the boycott.

Unit Costs During the Ad Boycott

The SQAD Data Team extracted ad costs from the entire first quarter of 2018 to identify any trends in the cost data. Contrary to what may have been expected, when advertisers began the boycott, the data shows an uptick in unit costs. Costs increased during the week of Ingraham’s “planned vacation” from the show – as advertisers continued to demand their ads be pulled from the time slot.

Ingraham’s Return

After Ingraham’s return to the show, unit costs sustained higher levels than before the boycott.

  • From the beginning of 2018 up until Ingraham’s break during the week of April 2, unit costs for the show averaged $12,740 – $15,052.
  • Comparing the week before her break to the week of her break, we see a 16.7% uptick in unit costs.
  • After Ingraham returned to the show, unit costs have sustained an average higher than the one before the controversy, in the range of $14,395 – $17,007, which is 13% higher than pre-break rates.

ANSWER: FOX News was not adversely effected by the ad boycott on The Ingraham Angle.

Even as advertisers pulled ads from the show, they did not pull dollars from the network thanks in part to upfront commitments. When advertisers entered their final costs into their housekeeping system, we see the unit costs did not experience a dip, as may have been expected under the circumstance.

According to the reported cost data during the time, unit costs actually increased after the boycott, to averages higher than those pre-boycott.


The above examples show that upfronts can be both beneficial and detrimental to a network. On one hand, they can provide a network with protective padding in the face of controversies or changes that would otherwise have a negative impact on revenue. On the other, upfronts can deprive networks of additional ad dollars in the event of better-than-expected performance.

Upfronts continue to prove essential to the TV industry in maintaining predictable revenue streams even in the face of unforeseen volatility and social opinion shifts.

By |May 22nd, 2018|SQAD Data Reports|0 Comments

DATA REPORT: Is “Megyn Kelly Today” Costing NBC Ad Dollars?

DATA SOURCE: SQAD MediaCosts: National (NetCosts)

Since Megyn Kelly made her transition from The Kelly File on Fox News to Megyn Kelly Today on NBC, many outlets have reported ratings declines for the 9:00 AM Today Show block. The question posed to our Data SQAD is, “What is the financial impact of Megyn Kelly Today for NBC?”

The Data SQAD went into our MediaCosts: National database to see how Kelly is performing in terms of unit costs and found some insight that reveal the financial side of the reported story.

To get a sense of how the ad value of the show performed in real-time (beyond initial upfront buys), our team pulled the scatter data from when Kelly started in the 9:00 AM slot on NBC in September 2017 through April 2018.




  • When Megyn Kelly Today premiered on NBC in September 2017, unit costs for the 9:00 AM block initially saw a 22% month-over-month drop – this may not be related to Megyn Kelly and may represent inventory commitments already in place prior to her premiere.

  • From October 2017 to November 2017, average unit costs spiked 62% from $11,275 to $18,255.

  • The show experienced an 18.5% ad cost dip from January to February 2018, which is likely related to Olympic coverage.



Since Kelly’s premiere on NBC, November 2017 – April 2018 shows an aggregate 7% increase year-over-year. Looking at yearly trends by month:

  • In November 2017, unit costs were 12.6% higher year-over-year

  • December 2017, 12.5% higher

  • January 2018, 17.2% higher

  • February 2018, 14% lower (possibly due to the Winter Olympics)

  • March 2018, 3% higher

  • As of April 2018, the show continues to bring in higher year-over-year scatter unit costs, averaging 11% higher than April 2017.


For context, the graph below shows the unit cost volatility of both scatter and combination for the 9:00 AM programming block on NBC since Kelly’s premiere in September 2017.


Although much of the reporting around Megyn Kelly Today is focused on her ratings, it would appear that NBC is looking at stronger revenues for the 9:00 AM time slot with Kelly at the helm. If she can continue to beat the year-over-year numbers, and maintain a solid base of loyal viewers, it’s unlikely NBC will pull the plug any time soon.

By |May 18th, 2018|SQAD Data Reports|0 Comments