Big Pharma leads the charge in TV ad spending increases, analyst report finds

TV with color bands

And the spend goes on. The latest pharma ad news is from Morgan Stanley, which notes pharma companies are leading the way in a national TV spending upswing. 

The pharma category is up 20% in TV spending so far, after increasing by 20% in 2015, according to the research note reported by Yahoo. Overall, TV ad spend increased by 6.4% and 5.3% in Q4 2015 and Q1 2016, respectively.

However, it’s not a new conclusion. Pharma ad spending overall has been resurging for the past several years, and reached $5.4 billion last year, tying the previous record set in 2006, as tracked by Kantar Media. Pharma companies spend the largest percentage of their ad budgets on TV, often more than two-thirds in the case of the top TV drug ad spenders.

Data from realtime TV tracker iSpot.tv also showed TV spending up with big jumps in January and February over previous months among the pharma top 10 spenders. 

The recent plethora of pharma TV ad spending prompted WPP’s ad buying unit Group M chief investment officer, Rino Scanzoni, to tell the Wall Street Journal in April, “Pharmaceutical companies have been spending money like drunken sailors.”

The Yahoo coverage of the Morgan Stanley note claims the TV ad growth is evidence that digital spending is shifting back to TV. The WSJ story quoted sources saying consumer giant Procter & Gamble was moving some digital money back into TV, and where that CPG bellwether goes, others are bound to follow. However, it should be noted the economy is also a factor, with ad spending tending to rise in general as economic fortunes go up.

- see Yahoo's coverage
- read the WSJ article

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