Back to leadership Contact Us

Q1 2024 Marketplace: More Competitive Than Years Past



If you’ve followed the linear TV space for any length of time, you know you can almost set your watch to the open inventory that’s available at the beginning of the year. When the calendar rolled over to 2024, the marketplace seemed to act like it always has in prior years. Well, at least for one week anyway. As the month progressed, commercial inventory became tighter than we typically see this time of the year. What changed?

Well, there were a few things:

  • According to network polls, non-profit/charitable organizations’ spend was much heavier than they have seen in years past. In fact, Vivvix estimates that 13% of spend among advertisers in January 2024 came from the non-profit/charitable organization category. We suspect that this may be due to many organizations being behind in donations in late 2023 and looking to catch up in the new year.
  • For some cable networks, upfront and scatter deals weren’t finalized until after the 2023 holidays.
  • According to Vivvix, the number of advertisers entering the marketplace in 2024 was up 31% compared to 2023, resulting in a 7% increase in total advertising spend in January. Preliminary February numbers show that trend continuing as the number of advertisers is 19% higher YOY and marketplace spend increased 17% higher YOY.

The other key players included financial/insurance and pharmaceutical advertisers. On any given month, these two categories alone typically represent 24% of overall advertising. While the financial/insurance category is down slightly, (-3% YOY), pharmaceutical spend continues to increase, showing a 22% increase in spending this year compared to last year.

Is political advertising having any impact? Not yet. Political spending in January 2024 was down 96% compared to the last presidential election in 2020. It wasn’t too surprising as the number of candidates was quickly dwindling towards the end of 2023. There was an uptick in spending in February 2024 with some political organizations coming into the marketplace but spend was still down 86% compared to February 2020. Based on previous spending trends, we should expect the political space to quiet down, at least for a few months, as we await the Democratic and Republican conventions coming in August. After that, we can really expect political advertising to ramp up going into September and October.

Our Takeaways

It appears as though more advertisers are entering the linear TV space, potentially leading to more competition and an in-demand marketplace. If advertisers want to make the most of their investments, they should be prepared to be flexible and proactive—planning ahead of time for holidays or events that may impact their target audience and the marketplace.

Marketers should also be prepared for more marketplace fluctuations due to the upcoming presidential election and the Summer Olympics. Our teams are closely monitoring and identifying opportunities weekly given the anticipated impact from these events.

This article is featured in Media Impact Report No. 53. View the full report here.