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TV Will Drop Below 25% of Total US Ad Spending By 2022

US TV ad spending will drop almost 3% this year, and a 1.0% bump in 2020 from the presidential election and Summer Olympics will not stave off a long-term decline for ad spending on the biggest traditional channel. According to eMarketer’s latest US ad forecast, TV ad spending peaked in 2018 at $72.40 billion.

This year, US TV ad spending will decline 2.9% to $70.30 billion. That means its share of total ad spending will drop below 30% for the first time. By 2022, it will drop below one-quarter of total US ad spending.

TV spending will get a slight bump of 1.0% next year, due to political advertising and the 2020 Olympics. But the uptick will be short-lived, as TV spending will drop 1.0% every year thereafter.

“TV ad growth can be heavily impacted by world events, so it’s possible that spending could return TV to $72 billion again,” said eMarketer forecasting director Monica Peart. “But it is unlikely that it will exceed that going forward, as ratings and viewership declines accelerate.”

According to eMarketer’s TV viewer projections released in July, the number of US cord-cutter households will climb more than 19% this year to 21.9 million, reducing the number of pay TV households to 86.5 million.

Also affecting TV ad spending is viewing time, which will drop 3.0% to 3 hours, 40 minutes on average among US TV viewers in 2019. All age groups are showing declines in time spent watching TV, but the largest drops are occurring among viewers ages 17 and younger.