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Updated: October 30, 2023

It is no secret that TV advertising usually comes with a hefty price tag. Still, many business owners don’t realize just how expensive it can be, even if you aren’t hoping to land a lucrative nationwide commercial spot. 

Of course, we have all heard of the multimillion-dollar Super Bowl commercials aired by iconic brands like Pepsi or Budweiser. But how much does it cost to advertise on TV in a more “normal” scenario? And what about the cost of a commercial on local TV networks?

CETV Now! is the perfect alternative for several reasons, including the ability to reach customized, local audiences when they are in the buying environment. We put your needs first, which is why we have created this guide. We have broken down TV advertising costs, covering everything you need to know if you’re considering adding TV ads to your marketing strategy.

How Much Does it Cost to Advertise on Television?

There are two primary expenses involved in TV advertising costs:

  • Production (creation of the ad)
  • Broadcasting (distribution of the ad)

You’ll need to plan for the costs associated with creating the actual commercial and distributing the final result on TV.

Average TV Ad Production Costs

For a national TV ad, production costs can start around $100,000 and sometimes exceed several million dollars. Other sources estimate average production costs closer to $50,000, based on a 30-second commercial to air on network television. 

A commercial produced by a local, family-owned business will generally cost dramatically less than something a nationwide corporation would create. If you have the resources to create a commercial using in-house staff, you’ll spend less than you would to outsource the task to an ad agency. But no matter how you look at it, you’ll need to set aside a significant amount of money to produce your TV ad.

Average TV Broadcasting Costs

What about the average cost of broadcasting a TV commercial? On a local television station, TV ad broadcasting costs an average of around $5 per 1,000 viewers (for a commercial that is 30 seconds long). That same commercial would cost an average of $342,000 to air on national television. Those costs will repeat every time your commercial airs, so expenses can quickly add up.

Factors Affecting TV Ad Costs

TV ad pricing is based on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) model, which is the specific dollar amount you will pay for every 1,000 people that see your commercial.

The CPM for TV commercials varies widely, depending on several critical factors, which is one of the main reasons there is such a broad range of TV advertising costs. Let’s take a closer look at some things that can shape how much it costs to air a commercial on TV.


The market, or location, where a commercial will air greatly impacts the CPM/cost. For example, the average cost of a 60-second ad aired in Los Angeles is more than double what it would be if aired in Kansas City.

Length of Commercial

A short, 15-second ad will be much less expensive than a 60-second commercial simply because you are paying for how much airtime you use.

Time of Year

During certain periods, commercials can be considered more valuable. For example, TV ad costs can be higher during highly anticipated sports events, holidays, and political races.


TV channels that air popular programming will charge far more for commercials simply because you are gaining access to a larger audience. Choosing between broadcast vs. cable advertising will also involve varying expenses.

Local TV Advertising Costs

If you’re considering a campaign to target prospective customers with a geo-specific focus, how much does it cost to advertise on local TV? 

What are the Costs for Local TV Advertisement?

Although you are generally right to assume that the cost of local TV advertising is lower than that of a campaign on a national scale, you may still be surprised at how pricey it can be. On average, the cost of advertising on local television can range from $1,500 to upwards of $150,000.

The expense can put this ad campaign well out of reach, particularly for a small, locally-owned business. Breaking down the advertising expenses of a local TV campaign, dollar by dollar, involves considering several factors. Much like a standard TV ad, your costs will vary depending on the commercial length, channel and audience, and the time of year. 

And, of course, there are the production costs to keep in mind – which can vary significantly. To determine how much it costs to produce a commercial for local TV, you would need to budget for a camera crew, actors, a studio, and so on. Production costs can quickly run into the $20,000 to $30,000 range, in addition to the expenses associated with getting your commercial on the air. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Advertising on TV

Like any marketing strategy, TV advertising comes with its pros and cons.

Pros of TV Advertising

TV ads have been a marketing staple for decades, and there are good reasons that so many brands rely on commercials as a major part of their overall strategy. 

When well-produced, a TV commercial can impact viewers and leave an impression that lasts well after it has finished airing. There is also a certain amount of authority and legitimacy conveyed when a brand has a TV ad, and commercials on TV have an expansive reach into American households. 

Despite these potential benefits, TV ads are not an ideal fit for many businesses.

Cons of TV Advertising

Unfortunately, there are also major drawbacks to TV advertising.

One of the most obvious issues is the high cost of TV ads, which entirely removes the option for a number of small businesses. 

To understand one of the biggest disadvantages of advertising on TV, you have to ask yourself what you do when commercials come on during your favorite show. Odds are, you aren’t giving the ads your full attention; more than likely, you scroll your phone, change the channel, or even get up and leave the room momentarily. 

Consumers can easily turn their attention away from the television during commercial breaks, leaving your expensive ad broadcasting to an empty room or distracted audience. More than 80% of people say they multitask during commercial breaks, so it makes sense that less than 50% of consumers would describe TV ads as “memorable.”

In addition, even if the at-home audience does take in the information from an ad campaign, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will take action. In most cases, the audience is not in the actual buying environment – so the likelihood of them completing a meaningful action is far lower.

CETV Now! Offers a Better Alternative to Local TV Advertising

Although there are major challenges associated with local TV advertising, brands shouldn’t be discouraged – because, thanks to technological advancements and our innovative team, there is now a better, smarter, and more effective alternative available.

CETV Now! taps into a cutting-edge concept known as Commercial Environment TV, a one-of-a-kind approach that delivers highly targeted advertising to consumers in the buying environment in real time. 

With CETV Now!, your tailored campaigns are delivered via a strategically-developed ad network to local businesses, using content control technology to get your message in front of the right people at the right time and in the right place. It turns passive viewing audiences into invaluable resources for your brand and allows you to reach qualified and interested customers within an ideal window of opportunity. 

When you opt to partner with CETV Now!, you’ll reap the benefits of our revolutionary ad insertion strategy and network, including

  • The ability to distribute ads across multiple locations nationwide
  • Options to precisely tailor campaigns based on sector, budget, geographic location, and other parameters
  • A diverse range of criteria to make efficient use of ad spend
  • Real-time monitoring for accurate performance analysis
  • Campaigns suited to virtually any industry, niche, and audience
  • An audience that cannot “change the channel” and is less likely to disengage

Are You Ready to Expand Your Advertising Strategy? Learn More with CETV Now!

It’s time to step into the future of advertising and leverage a CETV Now! strategy that will propel your business toward success – there’s no reason to continue wasting your budget on the gamble of traditional TV advertising! 

Learn more about CETV Now! and how we are changing how brands reach their audiences, and see what we can do for your business. Check out our mission and strategy now!

Imaging credit to Shutterstock users Elnur & Kaspars Grinvalds