Can I Afford A TV Campaign?

We've worked with budgets from modest to mogul. We can help you get the most from your advertising budget, and help you understand your options.

Television is the AWARENESS medium. Like all forms of advertising, TV works through REPETITION. When you repeat your message to your customer, they become familiar with you. When they're familiar with you, they will be comfortable buying your products or services. It takes typically at least 8 (eight) viewings of your commercial by a customer to register your message in the customer's mind. With a minimal schedule, it takes about 3 months to build the level of awareness that gets the viewer to take action. With a combination of more frequent and more targeted airings, customers reach that key level of awareness much more rapidly, and take action sooner.

TV Campaign Examples

NOTE: THE AMOUNTS BELOW ARE ONLY EXAMPLES.  This is NOT a "price list" or "rate quote."  This chart is for budgeting purposes only and should not be considered exact pricing. These are examples of what other advertisers in your business sector are spending, so you can budget for your own campaign. If you intend to outspend a competitor, note that they may be spending substantially more than the amounts shown.

Want the Current Rates for a Specific Network or Location?

If you need exact rates for a particular market, network, or TV show, try our friends at the

At you can order your custom schedule with actual rate and daypart information, or just get rate information for a network, daypart or show. Media research is a custom, time intensive process, there is a small fee for the service, payable via PayPal or credit card.

The table below shows the minimum you should typically spend per month for a 2-3 month, budget-savvy campaign. Your actual advertising expenditure will vary by location and goals. For faster results, make a larger air time buy. TV airing is one occasion where more really is more. No kidding.

Monthly TV Media Spend Rules of Thumb

Your Business

Product or Service

Typical Minimum Buy per Month

Marketing Goal

Retail shop, 1 location

(except restaurants.
See below.)

automotive repair, specialty store, single franchisee

$1,500-$2,500 (for local area cable TV such as CNN, Home & Garden TV, etc.)

$2,000-5,000 (for a local broadcast station like NBC, ABC, CBS, etc.)

Local recognition, advertise ongoing specials, and increase business.

Plan to be on the air for at least 3 months to maximize effectiveness.

Local restaurant 1 or more locations family style dinners, take-out, fine dining, etc.

$2,500-$5,000 (for local cable TV) - Average: $3,000

$4,000-$6,000 (for broadcast)

The restaurant business is highly competitive. Hit hard to get noticed and develop a following.
Product manufacturer or distributor market test of new product

$10,000 - $25,000 per market (for concentrated airings in one selected test market, preferably at least 100K cable TV viewers)

Can also be tested nationwide on satellite.

Determine if product demand exists in the market test area by number of calls. Actual orders and up-sells depend on the activities of the call center.

Recommended length of test: 6-8 weeks.

Direct Response Advertiser - LOCAL


Consumer product or service, not sold in stores (yet).
"1-800" or website sales
Local Sales (ongoing): $3,000 for airing on cable TV per each test market. $6000-10,000 for local broadcast Sales: Generate customer calls to call/fulfillment center.
Local Market Test: $5,000 for cable TV airings in one local market, at least 100K viewers. Market Test: Determine level of product demand in a specific geographic region or demographic. Recommended length of test: 6-8 weeks.
Direct Response Advertiser - NATIONAL Consumer product or service, examples: Snuggie, Sham-Wow, Oxy-Clean. "1-800" or website sales

National Sales (ongoing): $10,000 - $20,000 for nationwide satellite or cable TV. Satellite packages available.

Sales: Generate customer calls to call center or fulfillment center. Actual orders and up-sells are responsibility of call center.

National Market Test: $10,000-$25,000 Can be tested efficiently nationwide on satellite or via nationwide cable. Can be tested on local broadcast if nationwide testing is not an option. Market Test: Determine where product demand exists nationwide. Actual orders and up-sells are responsibility of call center. Recommended length of test: 6-8 weeks.


How many airings can I buy for $xxx- and who sees my ad?

Air time rates vary wildly. Wildly! Seriously, we've seen rates from $1 to $35,000 per airing or higher (don't forget the famous $2.5M per airing Superbowl time slot).

Each TV channel has a matrix of rates for every time of day, every show, and every day of the week. There's also a rate matrix for local or national airings for each channel. A local cable TV provider, which offers hundreds of channels, has a matrix that includes all rates for each and every channel and time of day. Rates depend also on time of day, show popularity, and availability.

Take heart. There are affordable media buys out there to suit just about any business budget.

See our Examples for recommendations to suit many typical small to medium businesses.

TV airings supply and demandSupply and Demand:

Air time is like a commodity. It's a little bit like buying lettuce at the grocery store. The price goes up and down, depending on the time of year, what kind you get, how much you get -- generally, good old supply and demand.

If the network or show is popular, then demand for time slots goes up and availability goes down, pushing prices higher. If fewer people watch the show or network, demand goes down, allowing prices to go lower.