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December 5, 2018

‘Tis The Season For a Monster Sale

At Tatari, we often get the question “when is the best time for being on TV?”. There is no good answer because every company is unique, and each will have its own best timing. However, there is one general exception: the two or three weeks right after Christmas. During those weeks, advertisers pull out of the market as budgets are closed for the year and CMOs check out of the office on vacation.  Inventory becomes widely available and with that, pricing craters. The network reps are people with holiday plans too, so they're more likely inclined to accept offers that they normally wouldn't.

We briefly discussed TV performance and media-buying in Q4, and to reiterate, Tatari calculates the value of $1 in TV advertising during that period possibly worth $2.40 in a typical media week.

For many clients, TV’s monster sale puts Black Friday to shame. If you think that 50% off is a good deal, well then to quote our Co-Founder, Joel, “that’s more bah humbug compared to Christmas-week and NYE-week bargains.”  Tatari has scored some 95% giveaways in past years. That combined with an increase in viewership means that even with a precipitous drop in the conversion rate, such a buy can be ROI positive.

This post-holiday season in TV advertising is, however, much more than just buying cheaply (and landing uber-performance).  It is the perfect moment to try more expensive buys (and as we explained last week, in the world of TV, bigger is often better) and learn their performance.

We strongly recommend preparing for this period and going into it with specific goals.  Here are some possible considerations:


  • Daytime rotations benefit from the biggest jump in HUT (households using TV).  People who are not ordinarily home during the day are now, and more importantly, are watching TV.
  • That said, discounts remain on the more expensive rotations that have been off-limits to date (e.g. prime time) owing to budgets
  • Try new (large) networks or broadcast TV including syndications that have not yet been tried
  • Buy new programs or completely new genres (e.g. an in-game NFL airing or College Bowl games).
  • Explore normally scarce TV opportunities (e.g. Judge Judy).
  • Dabble into OTT and Connected TV buys- as discussed, people have more time and it’s easy to infer that they’ll binge watch or seek certain on-demand movies.

We should, of course, add that this strategy doesn’t apply to all TV advertisers.  A company that, for example, depends heavily on gift sales, will find little benefit from bargain CPMs if the cost savings are more than offset by the reduction in conversion rate (or to truly illustrate this, just think of a company selling Christmas trees).  Furthermore, not all fire sales are promising. News programming, for example, usually falters during holidays (then again, in today’s political environment, this may just be the best value buy if anything unexpected were to happen).

We have been discussing and optimizing holiday plans with our clients, including defining discretionary spend to be ahead in this first-come first-serve frenzy.  The Tatari lights will stay on over the break. If your media-buyer is checking out, we recommend to at least check pricing, making sure it’s not rate card. If you’re not a Tatari client, feel free to reach out if you want a spot price check and see how much you can save.