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What Are the Different Types of Cable TV Advertising?

Tiffany Manley
Tiffany Manley

Cable TV advertising usually involves the use of small chunks of time before, during, and after programming to promote a business and its products or services. Commercials are the most common type of cable TV advertising. Other products such as onscreen crawls, community channel advertising, and above-programming promotion are available in many markets. Some companies provide television viewing services on their websites as well, which means opportunities to advertise on these pages might also be available.

TV commercials generally involve a variety of individuals working together to create video content to be used in an advertisement. Often this type of promotion costs a great deal both in terms of money and time, which many new or small businesses lack. As a result, they might choose to spend their marketing dollars in other ways.

Commercials, on-screen crawls and community channel advertising are among the options on cable television.
Commercials, on-screen crawls and community channel advertising are among the options on cable television.

Cable TV advertising that scrolls across the bottom of the TV screen is called a crawl. This is a more cost-effective method of promotion for many businesses. In addition, it is a relatively easy method as well. Simple marketing copy is created and provided to the cable company, which then places it in the appropriate queue for advertisement.

Community channel cable TV advertising is used by many small businesses, especially if their focus is on local clientele. Many local companies have a community channel that is used to promote businesses and local programming. This method of promotion usually involves a full-screen ad that might contain logos, product pictures, and text.

Television advertising reaches large numbers of potential consumers.
Television advertising reaches large numbers of potential consumers.

Above-programming promotion is cable TV advertising that appears above program guides. While this method does not provide full-screen visibility, it does usually allow for the display of a graphic and a small amount of text. Ads of this type might rotate through at predetermined time periods to allow for a few different types to be seen.

If cable programming is viewed on Internet websites, providers might offer website advertising spots to businesses. These might be in the form of banner ads, text links, or sponsorships. Promotion in this manner might be charged based on a variety of factors such as ad placement, size, and length of contract.

When considering this type of advertising, a business owner might consider price, exposure, and target market. Certain times of day are generally better than others for advertising certain products and services and will likely gain the business more exposure. Research can usually be obtained about the cable company’s market demographics and other important factors.

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Discussion Comments


@Izzy78 - You're right that it can really get expensive. Everyone knows that Super Bowl commercials are the most expensive, but I've read that even commercials during popular programs can be 500,000 dollars. It seems incredible that airing commercials could regain that cost, but like someone else said, apparently they do or they wouldn't cost that much. The cost of airing doesn't even take into account the products costs, either.

Like someone else also said, though, I think it is important that your ads are getting the most bang for the buck. Personally, I would have a hard time justifying paying for an ad that just ran at the bottom of the screen or popped up on a Youtube video. I just don't think they work. At least for me, the only time I really take note of a commercial is when it takes up the whole screen and gets my attention somehow.


@matthewc23 - I never had any television advertisements, but I used to run ads for my store over the radio. I would assume they are much of the same process.

Basically, the station will have some sort of person in charge of the advertising and scheduling. For radio ads, they usually have someone who will help you put together a good script, so I'm sure TV has the same thing. The rest is just negotiating a price and deciding when and how often you want the ad to run. Like has already been mentioned, that is the biggest factor in determining the price.

Ads can get really expensive, though. I am from a fairly small, rural town, and a 15 second ad could easily cost several hundred dollars every month to play. I would assume TV promotion would easily run in the thousands just for a local station.


Does anyone have any idea how much it costs to advertise a product on cable TV? Obviously, a lot of it would depend on the channel and the time the ads air, but I figure there must be some sort of general guidelines.

I have seen plenty of commercials that advertise local businesses, and some of them are relatively small, so it can't cost a fortune. Most of the time when those air, though, it is during the news or some sort of a local show. My guess is that it costs a lot less to advertise then than it does during a primetime sitcom.

If you wanted to make an ad for TV, what how would you even go about it? Can you just send them in a video, or are there special steps you need to take? I guess I have never really thought about the background process before.


@TreeMan - I know what you mean. I don't watch too much cable TV, but whenever I am watching shows or videos on the internet, I have gotten to the point where I can completely ignore the "passive" advertisements that just pop up at the bottom of the screen or on the side bars.

I am sure these advertisements must generate some sort of profit for the companies that pay for them or else they wouldn't keep putting them up, but it is very rarely that one of them catches my attention, let alone makes me want to spend money on something.

The same thing happens with me and the above programming ads that the article talks about. Sure, I might pull up my cable guide and there might be an advertisement, but I know the routine, so I have trained myself to just ignore whatever is there and just focus on the information I want.


@nextcorrea - I don't know if I would necessarily agree with that. Sure, the advertisements might pop up a lot, but do people actually see them?

I know that commercials and advertisements are so ubiquitous now that you can't go anywhere without having some product pitched to you. I even got gas the a while back, and they have a TV screen above the pumps trying to sell me something or another. I wasn't a fan of the company for other reasons, but now I actively avoid going to those stations. I think you have to draw the line somewhere. If I'm already paying a ton of money to fill up my tank, I don't need commercials playing in the background trying to get me to buy more stuff.

I guess my point is that there are some people who either avoid or have learned to ignore the advertisements that are all over the TV.


One area of cable TV advertising that people don't think about is the crawl that appears on the bottom or the side of the screen on many news and sports networks. Most of the time there is just information printed on these crawls but there is often also a logo or some other nod to a corporate sponsor.

I have no idea how much companies pay to advertise in this space but it is probably more than you would expect. Over a very short period that logo might show up a dozen times or more. that is good advertising.


I feel like cable is the only place where I see those "As Seen On TV" ads. They are also the only place where you see infomercials. I can only assume that it is a little cheaper to advertise on cable so these smaller companies have a chance of breaking into the TV market.


These days there is little difference between the ads that run on cable and the ads that run on network television. They are all the same companies offering all the same products with most of the same campaigns.

The one area where cable really is different from an advertising standpoint, is that most cable networks offer a specific kind of content aimed at a specific demographic population. This allows advertisers to target specific audiences more easily. For instance, you won't see an ad for ax body spray on the Lifetime Network. Conversely, you probably won't see an add for ladies razors on ESPN. Advertisers don't have to advertise generally but can speak to discrete audiences.

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    • Commercials, on-screen crawls and community channel advertising are among the options on cable television.
      Commercials, on-screen crawls and community channel advertising are among the options on cable television.
    • Television advertising reaches large numbers of potential consumers.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      Television advertising reaches large numbers of potential consumers.