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TV advertising during COVID-19

Jo Loup May 11, 2021 9:15:00 AM
tv advertising during covid

We've all heard how important it is to focus on brand building during COVID-19. Experts across the globe have shown us historical data supporting the fact that brands that invest during difficult times are more successful in the end. ThinkTV and RadioConnects have done an amazing job at curating these articles. We have also posted a weekly  TV tuning dashboard and radio listening dashboard to help keep you up to date on changing habits.

According to the data, TV viewing at the beginning of the lockdown increased but then declined as the summer progressed. However, we have seen a steady growth in hours viewed over the Fall. So which brands listened to the experts and increased their investment in TV advertising? Our dashboard below shows TV CMR data for the top 10 stations in the Toronto market over the past year comparing Adult 25-54 program GRPs split by 2 month periods.

TV viewing data highlights:

  • Program impressions across the measured categories and stations fell last summer with an 8% drop during Jul-Sep compared to the 3 months prior. However, they increased 15% over the Fall and grew again slightly during the first quarter of this year helped by the return of live sport.

  • Restaurant advertising GRPs increased 20% vs the last quarter driven by increased activity from Tim Hortons, Harveys and online delivery services (Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes and Door Dash).

  • The lottery category has experienced a huge increase in advertising, up 64% vs the same time period last year. This was driven by heavy weight campaigns from OLG in March.

  • Good news also for the automotive category, which had the highest weight of activity in this quarter since the pandemic began and was only 5% lower than Q1 last year. Ford, Hyundai, Subaru and the new merger Stellantis all had higher GRPs in this quarter than compared to Q1 last year.

  • We see a similar pattern for the financial category. GRPs during Jan-March this year are only 2% lower than the same period last year, with heavy campaigns from BMO, RBC and Scotiabank.

TV viewing dashboard


Clients with TV PPM subscriptions can access the full dashboard containing advertiser and brand details through the Lens platform.

Click here to watch our recent webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on TV viewing and advertising.