Sony doubled TV ad spend for PlayStation 5 launch
December 7, 2020
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Gaming brands have been revving up their TV ad spend just in time for the holidays: November saw a 76.65% increase in estimated outlay, up to $49.7 million from October’s $28.1 million. Over half of that came from PlayStation’s heavy promotion of the PlayStation 5 and Call of Duty: Black Ops — Cold War. In total, 14 brands aired 75 spots over 4,900 times, resulting in 1.9 billion TV ad impressions. Football continues to be a key driver of impressions for top brands.

GamesBeat has partnered with iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution platform, to bring you a monthly report on how gaming brands are spending. The results below are for the top five gaming-industry brands in November, ranked by estimated national TV ad spend.

Sony has been a top spender all year, but in November, thanks to the much-anticipated PS5, it went even bigger, dropping an estimated $26.2 million — over half of the industry’s total outlay. It aired 12 commercials over 1,400 times, resulting in 966.2 million TV ad impressions. The top ad by spend (est. $5.6 million) was “Launch: Play Has No Limits.” NFL games accounted for over half of PlayStation’s spend, followed by college football and SportsCenter. Top networks by outlay included ESPN, Fox, and CBS.

At No. 2: Xbox, with an estimated spend of $10.6 million, a 334.77% increase from October’s outlay. The brand ran five ads 467 times, generating 346.4 million TV ad impressions. A large portion of that outlay (est. $7.2 million) went toward “A New Life,” promoting Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla Gold Edition. As we saw with PlayStation, the NFL accounted for much of Xbox’s spend, followed by college football and Friday Night SmackDown. Top networks included Fox, ESPN, and CBS.

Third place goes to Nintendo with an estimated outlay of $7 million on 32 spots that aired over 1,500 times, resulting in 323.7 million TV ad impressions. “Imagination,” promoting Mario Kart Live Home Circuit, was the top commercial by spend (estimated at $1.3 million). Nick, Fox, and ABC were the top networks by outlay, while top programming included SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House, and the NFL.

Activision takes fourth place, spending an estimated $2.9 million airing four spots 13 times, generating 96.8 million TV ad impressions. The top spot by outlay (est. $1.2 million) was “The Threat,” promoting Call of Duty: Black Ops — Cold War. Nearly all of Activision’s spend went to NFL games, but it did have a few airings during the 2020 Toy Awards. Top networks included Fox, NBC, and ESPN.

EA Sports rounds out the ranking with an estimated $1.3 million in spend on seven commercials that ran 78 times, resulting in 56.3 million TV ad impressions. The Madden NFL 21 spot “A New Era Feat. The Spokesplayer,” featuring King Keraun, had the highest outlay (estimated at $523,616). EA focused on reaching a sports-loving audience, with top programming including the NFL, college football, and SportsCenter, while top networks included ESPN, ABC, and CBS.


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