What TV ads cost in the
Of the 61 returning series across ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and The CW (plus one from Amazon Prime Video) tracked by Ad Age, 30 saw the cost for a 30-second ad fall by more than 5% compared to last season, while 20 remained relatively on par and 11 saw a price increase greater than 5%.
NBC is home to four out of the 10 most priciest shows on broadcast TV. ABC followed with three, while CBS and Fox claimed just one spot each on the top 10. Amazon Prime Video made its debut with “Thursday Night Football,” which moved to the streamer from Fox this season.
The price for commercial time on NFL programming remains the strongest on broadcast TV. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” once again takes the top spot, with an average of $828,501 per 30 seconds, a 2% bump up from last year’s price. Last month, NBC boasted strong season kickoff numbers for “Sunday Night Football,” up 35% year-over-year to just over 25 million viewers across broadcast, Peacock and other digital platforms, according to Nielsen. The network has reported consistently strong numbers this season—its recent week six game averaged 22.3 million viewers, up 28% compared to the previous year.
Fox’s Sunday NFL Doubleheader, which does not air in prime time, boasted an average cost of $879,172 for 30 seconds.
Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” marks the first time a streamer has appeared on Ad Age’s annual ranking. “Thursday Night Football” came in at No. 2, averaging $579,391 for commercial time. The price is 9% below last year’s when it aired on Fox. Despite an average viewership decline of 22% compared to its previous season on Fox, the first weeks of “Thursday Night Football” kept advertisers happy with its draw of younger, higher-income audiences—averaging 13 million and 11 million for its first two games this season, according to Nielsen. Most recently, Amazon averaged 7.8 million viewers for its week seven Saints vs. Cardinals matchup, compared to 8.1 million tuning in to last year’s week seven game on Fox.
NBC’s “The Voice” continues its streak as TV’s most expensive reality show, claiming both third and fourth slots among the top 10 for its Monday and Tuesday air dates, respectively. Monday night’s “The Voice” cost $227,499, down 2% from last year, while its Tuesday counterpart cost $220,476, a 7% drop.
ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” moves up two spots to No. 5, making it the most costly primetime scripted series. The Shonda Rhimes drama averaged $207,498 for a 30-second commercial, relatively flat compared with last year. In its 19th season, “Grey’s Anatomy” has averaged 3.5 million viewers across its first three episodes that have aired so far, down compared to last year’s average of 4.2 million throughout season 18, per Nielsen.
Fox’s “The Masked Singer” took a hit this year, declining 29% to $165,716 for commercial time, and coming in one notch down from last year at No. 6. The most recent episode of “The Masked Singer,” which aired Oct. 19, averaged 2.5 million viewers compared to 4.4 million viewers for the seventh season’s fourth episode.
CBS’s only show in the top 10 is “Young Sheldon.” The “Big Bang Theory” spin-off returned to the top 10 list after being bumped out for the 2021-2022 season, climbing 13% in price from last year to $160,996. For the first time, NBC’s “Chicago P.D.,” which is in its 10th season, appears in the top 10, making it the third most expensive primetime scripted show on broadcast TV. The cop unit of the “Chicago” franchise, which also houses “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago Med,” received a price bump of 19% this season, averaging $154,895 for 30 seconds.
ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise gets the final two roses, with the namesake series and spinoff “Bachelor in Paradise” rounding out the top 10 list. “The Bachelor” averaged $153,429, down 4% from last season, while “Paradise” averaged $150,493.
Bachelor in Paradise
The Masked Singer
The Voice (Tuesday)
The Voice (Monday)
Thursday Night Football
Sunday Night Football
Consistent with top 10 pricing trends, two of the season’s largest gainers are football-related programming: Fox’s Saturday college football slate rocketed 43% to $106,320 and NBC’s pre-“Sunday Night Football” talk series “Football Night in America” rose 27% to $106,826.
ABC’s true crime and news program “20/20,” saw a 37% increase to $66,725.
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The season was less kind to animated series: The biggest decliner is Fox’s “Family Guy,” which dropped 30% from last year to $82,152. Alongside it, fellow Fox cartoons “The Simpsons” and “The Great North” each fell 28% to $107,480 and $60,640, respectively.
Of the season’s 40 returning scripted series, 22 saw a decrease in the cost for a 30-second ad, and six of the 15 returning unscripted series saw prices hold relatively steady, with another six decreasing in price.
Ad Age's survey is assembled using information from as many as five media-buying agencies (See our 2021 pricing chart). The resulting prices should be viewed as directional indicators of unit cost and not the actual price that every advertiser paid for a 30-second spot. The numbers are based on agency estimates that can vary depending on the amount of inventory purchased from a network, the inclusion of any nontraditional advertising such as product placements, and the relationship that an advertiser and media-buying agency has with a network. Most TV advertising is typically purchased as part of larger negotiations, not on a one-off basis.
These estimates also reflect the prices that advertisers and networks agreed on in this year's upfront marketplace. Prices have likely changed for those buying spots closer to the air date in the so-called "scatter" market that follows.
2022 Price ($)
2021 Price ($)
*2021 price for Thursday Night Football was recorded when program was on Fox