How to Get Your Ad on Cable TV


How to Get Your Ad on Cable TV

Getting an ad on cable TV isn’t as difficult as most assume. Though advertising on cable TV has the potential to be expensive, it provides access to a large audience with disposable income. Create an engaging commercial, identify the cable TV programs your target customers are most likely to watch, and take the steps necessary to have the ad played while that content airs. Here’s how to do it.

Pay for the Ad Spot

Part of the challenge of getting an ad on cable TV is pinpointing the optimal price point and frequency of airing. You can purchase TV ads from a cable provider or local broadcast station. However, if your business is represented by an ad agency, that agency will purchase the ad space for you. 

Buying an ad spot from a local provider requires reaching out to the local cable provider or local TV station. The representative from the local provider will pair you up with an account executive who guides you through the purchase of the airtime to display your ad.

The primary difference in terms of how ad time is sold between local cable TV providers and local broadcast networks is location. Cable TV ads are bought and sold in accordance with zones, meaning groups of towns whereas broadcast TV airtime is bought and sold in a designated market area. Designated market areas are that much more expensive than individual zones.

Network vs. Spot Ads and More

Cable TV ads are available as either network or spot ads. If you want your ad to air on a national cable channel such as ESPN so everyone in the nation can see it, opt for a network ad. Alternatively, if you prefer that the ad air in your local city or another city, a spot cable ad is ideal. 

Furthermore, you also have the option of running a regular 60, 30 or 15 second video commercial or a cable crawl. Cable crawls are text ads that scroll at the bottom of the screen, oftentimes during news broadcasts. Crawls are run at specific frequencies.

If you want to advertise on cable in an economically efficient manner, consider the benefits of above-program listings. This type of ad is positioned on the cable guide screen, providing exposure to cable subscribers when reviewing the broadcasting schedule.

Time on the Air 

TV ad sales by air time center on spots that rotate, meaning cable stations do not always tell the advertising business when its commercial will be shown. Such rotator spots are often displayed in between specific hours of the morning, day or night. As an example, a business that pays for its ad to be shown in a prime time slot will likely find that ad airs in the hours between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. 

However, there is also the option of purchasing time for an ad that is not a rotator spot, meaning the commercial can air in the midst of certain shows at specific times. The aims of your business and its unique goals for advertising ultimately determine if it is better to spend for a rotator spot or one that is not a rotator spot as well as cable TV or broadcast advertising. 

Consider Targeting the Ad

Though it costs more to air cable TV ads at a specific time and during specific programs, doing so is almost always worth it. If your business sells a product or service that is narrowly tailored to a specific demographic, zero in on the cable TV shows they are likely to watch and the times at which your audience is most likely to tune in to cable. Air your ad on a channel your audience is inclined to watch, during programs they favor and also at the optimal time of the day and you will maximize the impact of your message.

Recognize the Merits of Advertising Agencies

One of the primary advantages of leaning on an advertising agency for assistance is this group provides access to TV advertising deals that are already in place. In short, an advertising agency has connections in the industry that facilitate a better deal for your business. 

An advertising agency will have forewarning of a pending fire sale in which advertising packages can be bought ahead of the air time at a comparably low price. Some such fire sales provide a golden opportunity as the available spots have decreased in price to a level that even a small business can afford.

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