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New Survey from Comcast Advertising Reveals Impact COVID-19 Events Have Had on Agency Buyers

May 14, 2020

NEW YORK, May 14, 2020 – Today, Comcast Advertising, the advertising arm of Comcast Cable which includes FreeWheel and Effectv, released the findings of a new study examining the impact of COVID-19 events on agency media strategies. The survey respondents were all users of FreeWheel’s Strata platform — most of whom are specialists in local media planning and buying.

When asked about their/their clients’ current approach to advertising, 93% of these buyers said they felt it’s important to keep advertising during this time, though many acknowledged this is only possible if the dollars are available. Additionally, in order to stay relevant in the current environment, 67% of those surveyed say their clients are already incorporating COVID-19 specific messaging into their advertising, with another 14% saying they may in the future.
The results showed how significant the COVID-19 events have been for this group, with 65% saying it would have a “large impact” and another 29% saying it would have “some impact” on their 2020 advertising plans.

In response to the challenges, the survey showed an openness to advanced media solutions for local and regional buyers: 80% of respondents said they intend to carry some part of their business via programmatic buying, and over 91% of local and regional buyers plan to put some of their video budget towards Advanced TV channels like video on demand, over-the-top, addressable, or advanced linear. For comparison, in October 2019, 79% of agencies surveyed said they were interested in Advanced TV, suggesting interest has recently grown.

“The events of the past few months have posed a challenge to many agency buyers, especially those who buy on behalf of local and regional businesses,” said Maria Weaver, Chief Marketing Officer, Comcast Advertising. “Our study revealed that these buyers are impacted, but they’re not sitting still. In many cases, they are finding ways to be more efficient with their dollars through the use of data, targeting, and automation.”

The survey also devled into the key priorities for buyers as they face the changes due to COVID-19. Nearly 50% of buyers said flexibility is key, 30% were focused on price, and 20% said more efficient use of data and targeting was especially important to them.

Looking ahead to 2021, local and regional agency buyers were asked if they expect the events of COVID- 19 to impact 2021 plans. While 60% said it’s too early to tell, 33% were certain the impacts would continue through next year. As far as what might change, 30% say they will actively look for advertising efficiencies for 2021, 25% are expecting to explore new channels, 20% will look into new ways of using data, and 16% expect to change their approach to targeting.

The survey was executed via an online survey of nearly 200 Strata platform users in April 2020. While Strata users buy all forms of media, every agency who responded to this survey is a buyer of local and regional advertising – often as their primary focus.
To read the full survey report and visual, click here.


About Comcast Advertising

Comcast Advertising, the advertising arm of Comcast Cable, is dedicated to bringing industry-leading television and video solutions to marketers. It is comprised of two primary businesses: Effectv and FreeWheel. Effectv, www.effectv.com, is the advertising sales division that helps put the power of cable to use for local, regional and national advertisers. FreeWheel, www.freewheel.com, offers advertising management solutions for “The New TV” ecosystem and beyond, enabling its diverse client base — comprised of some of the largest agency, media and entertainment companies — to manage and maximize value from their TV and premium video media. Comcast Cable, along with NBCUniversal and Sky, is part of the Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq:CMCSA). Visit www.comcastadvertising.com to learn more.

Media Contact
Meredith Fitzgerald
215-970-8504
Meredith_Fitzgerald@comcast.com