Game industry TV ad spend drops nearly 30% from September to October
November 8, 2020
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Gaming brands spent an estimated $28.1 million on TV advertising in October — a 28.73% decrease from September’s outlay of $39.5 million and a 53.32% decrease from October 2019. Together, PlayStation and Nintendo made up over 75% of the industry’s total spend. Overall, 11 brands aired 54 spots over 5,200 times, generating 1.2 billion TV ad impressions. Sports, particularly football, remained a key driver of impressions for gaming brands.

GamesBeat has partnered with, 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 October, ranked by estimated national TV ad spend.

PlayStation takes first place, spending an estimated $13.2 million airing seven spots 546 times, resulting in 474.9 million TV ad impressions. The top commercial by spend (est. $5.4 million) was “The Edge: Play Has No Limits.” The brand focused spend on reaching a sports-loving audience, with top programming including college football, the NFL, and the NBA. Top networks by outlay included ABC, ESPN, and CBS.

Second place goes to Nintendo with an estimated outlay of $8.2 million on 23 spots that ran 2,700 times, generating 394.3 million TV ad impressions. “Imagination,” promoting Mario Kart Live Home Circuit, had the biggest spend (est. $2.2 million). SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House, and The Amazing World of Gumball were three of the top shows by spend — but it’s worth noting that the NFL was No. 4. Top networks by spend included Nick, Cartoon Network, and Nick Toons.

At No. 3: EA Sports, which spent an estimated $2.7 million on 873 airings of six spots, resulting in 94.1 million TV ad impressions. Notably, the top commercial by spend ($1.9 million) was the Spanish-language “Fútbol es mi vida,” featuring Carlos Vela. Top networks by outlay included ESPN Deportes, NFL Network, and ESPN; top programming included the NBA, the NFL, and college football.

Xbox takes fourth place with an estimated spend of $2.4 million on three spots that aired 72 times, generating 109.9 million TV ad impressions. Over half of that outlay (est. $1.5 million) was for one commercial, “Us Dreamers: Power Your Dreams,” promoting the new Series S and Series X consoles. Xbox solely focused on reaching sports-watchers, with the NFL, NBA, and MLB leading for programming, and top networks including ABC, NBC, and ESPN.

Activision rounds out the ranking with an estimated outlay of $518,141 on two spots that only aired four times, resulting in 13.8 million TV ad impressions. Most of that budget (est. $482,302) was put toward “The Threat,” promoting Call of Duty: Black Ops — Cold War. Activision spots only aired during the NFL and the 2020 Toy Awards, and the only three networks were Fox, NFL Network, and Fox Sports 2.

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