More than $1 billion in planned spending could be canceled by major advertisers, including Domino’s Pizza, General Mills, General Motors, and PepsiCo, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Impact to date has been limited since the national spots are contractually bound and signed in advance of the new TV season, which starts in September. Despite the advance notice requirements, networks cut deals with hard-hit industries early on, resulting in a $2 billion decline in ad spending from Feb. 17 to April 26. Since May 1, ad buyers have had the option to cancel up to 50% of their third-quarter ad spending. The national TV ad market amounts to $42 billion annually.
Advertisers expressed concern about a lack of new programming and an inability to sell products in an economic downturn, according to WSJ. They are also likely to shift to other mediums including streaming services, social platforms, digital video, and e-commerce.
A major piece of TV programming remains in limbo: sports. Should leagues, including the NFL, return to play, network executives are optimistic ad spends will increase in the third quarter, according to WSJ. Eight of the top 10 TV programs in the past year to drive ad engagement were live sports.