TV’s Return: Fall Trends & Insights Report

Inside the Report


As fall approaches and people spend more time at home, audiences posted up on couches and tuned in more than last year at this time. 

For Q3, the shifting and condensed sports seasons also contributed an increase in viewership, as there was a 14% over the same period last year. The fact that the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB were all in action at the same time certainly helped, as did the upcoming presidential election, which helped boost news shows and networks.

Even without a “normal” TV schedule, those big events led to eight of the top 10 networks increasing impressions year over year in Q3. Brands also flocked back to TV after many sat out months in the middle of the year. And with their return also comes a return of pre-pandemic advertising creative, as most brands seem to embrace the current situation as the norm.

Key Takeaways

  • NBA impressions were tops among all new, non-syndicated shows — displaying an impressive dominance despite only starting in late July and airing outside of its typical timeframe
  • Cable news networks showed big gains, as Fox News (40%) and CNN (78%) saw some of the biggest year-over-year impressions gains among the top networks
  • Ads for the education industry saw a 67% increase in impressions as parents and teachers sought creative ways to deal with distance learning and tutoring
  • The glut of new streaming services and audiences stuck at home combined to lift impressions by more than 160% for services like Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Peacock and more
  • Insurance brands remained some of the top advertisers on TV in Q3: GEICO, Liberty Mutual, Progressive and State Farm were all among the top 10 brands by impressions

Why It Matters

Even with continued uncertainty around programming, sports and ad budgets, TV is starting to look more “normal” than it has since early March. With big events returning and primetime shows following suit this fall, advertisers that sat out parts of the year are finding new ways to come back to TV with creative that strikes the right balance in the current landscape.

Interested in learning more about TV’s top trends and insights this fall, and how you can apply them to your own TV buying or selling strategies?

Download iSpot’s new report for the latest trends and insights.

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