It’s not quite the Super Bowl — where 30-second advertising slots in the US football game can sell for $6.5 million (€6.5m) — but in terms of the ad rates in the Irish market and the clamouring demand from brands looking to buy into the seasonal extravaganza, the Late Late Toy Show is our Super Bowl.
This year advertisers looking for the best slot — the first ad in the first break — will pay €86,125 for a 30-second ad. That includes three mentions on Ryan Tubridy’s radio morning show with a competition, an ad on the Sunday afternoon repeat and one on the frustrating though popular — not least among the diaspora — RTÉ Player.
And while rates have been rising for the station’s biggest audience grabber year on year — there was a 10 per cent jump between 2020 and 2021 — this year the top package on offer is the same price as in 2021.
Other bundles include the Gold package at €66.500 for a 30-second ad and the Premium at €64,000 which gives the advertiser first slot in the third ad break — the slightly reduced price an acknowledgment that by then some in the audience in their Toy Show pyjamas from Penneys might be drifting off to the kitchen for supplies to prepare for the next part of the marathon Christmas in November broadcast.
After those prime first-place slots in the breaks have been sold the rest are filled by ads sold at a “spot rate” — the price for these hasn’t been released yet but it’s thought, going on previous years, it could hover around €50,000 for 30 seconds.
It’s appointment TV, it’s quality family viewing, and it’s at a time of the year just before Christmas when so many sectors and big brands are looking to make an impact
— Paul Moran, managing director of media planner and buyer Zenith
For some context and to understand just how much of a golden ticket it is for the broadcaster, the rate card figure for a 30-second ad this month in The Late Late Show is in the region of €12,000 — not the station’s priciest offering, which this month and next is the Champions League at about €16,000.
“It’s always oversubscribed,” says Paul Moran managing director of media planner and buyer Zenith (a recent amalgamation between Core’s Zenith and Mediaworks agencies). pointing out that last year 36 per cent of all adults in the country watched the Toy Show. That’s a staggering figure in an age of rapid fragmentation of media consumption and one he says that’s “a rarity in Europe”.
RTÉ boasts an average audience of more than 1.727 million for last year’s Toy Show (and there no reason to expect much audience slippage this year) and a “share” of 88 per cent of the research demographic HKWC (housekeepers with kids). TV audiences are measured in many ways and that metric looks at the entire TV-watching audience at a given time and the share of that audience who choose to tune in to a particular programme.
So there are very few households in the country where there are children whose parents escape the Tubridy-led extravaganza.
The average weekly reach of commercial TV from January-June 2022 was 78.2 per cent for adults, 74.4 per cent for 25-44 years and 80 per cent of all housekeepers with kids viewing each week
— TAM Ireland
“For advertisers, it ticks a lot of boxes,” says Moran. “It’s appointment TV, it’s quality family viewing, and it’s at a time of the year just before Christmas when so many sectors and big brands are looking to make an impact.” He notes too that it is a cross-media event, with viewers tweeting about it on the night, as well as promotion in the weeks running up to the broadcast.
Then there is the finite space element — RTÉ can have six minutes of advertising in an hour, other TV stations can have 12 minutes.
And as RTÉ goes to market to sell the Toy Show ad space — or more likely put the rates out there and wait for the hand to be taken off it; supermarkets are predicted to be big advertisers this year — it does so against a backdrop of a bullish year for TV advertising revenues for a medium that is seeing severe drops in audience numbers, particularly among younger viewers.
On Friday, TAM Ireland released figures for the first half of 2022 showing TV advertising revenues rose by almost 7 per cent year-on-year to €127 million. In the same period, according to Core research, TV viewing by 15-34 year olds shrank by 17.8 per cent in the Irish market, with the drop in traditional consumption among this group leading to an overall 8.1 per cent year-on-year decline in adult viewership.
TAM researchers note that just over €115 million in advertising revenue was recorded in the first half of 2019; for the same period in 2020 it was €91.35 million, while for 2021 it was €119 million.
The figures cover TV spot advertising, broadcaster video-on-demand and partnerships/sponsorships. It will be interesting when further research is done on the figures for the pandemic years to show how much of that advertising was made up of Government health information and what type of advertisers were still active when, under various lockdowns, several sectors in the economy couldn’t operate and consumers’ buying patterns changed.
According to TAM Ireland, in the first half of this year, “the average weekly reach of commercial TV from January-June 2022 was 78.2 per cent for adults, 74.4 per cent for 25-44 years and 80 per cent of all housekeepers with kids viewing each week”.
TAM’s figures also noted that the average Irish adult spent two hours and 39 minutes watching TV every day in the first half of 2022 — a figure that’s in decline; 10 years ago the daily time hovered around 3½ hours.