Airtime, Simplified.

Making The trickiest, often most stressful part of television advertising is actually getting the ad on the air.

When you have your television commercial produced by our team, we can work with you to help you understand your air time options, and give you tips on the most cost-effective ways to get on the air. air time cost

Air time should cost the advertiser the same per airing, whether booked through an agency or negotiated on their own. The cable TV systems and broadcast TV stations provide agencies a small, standardized discount on the negotiated rate as their compensation for their work. The networks typically do not offer this deal to you as an individual advertiser. Agencies like ours are compensated for our services primarily via that discount.

As our TV production client, you can benefit from our network connections, knowledge of television air time, and resources.

Our team will notice when spot prices are high or low, and can recommend channels, programs and time slots that maximize your campaign investment.

But we know you might desire a bit of control of the process, and that's why we are happy to help you to learn how to do it yourself!

What's Airtime?

Airtime, or "Air Time," is a fixed-length time slot for presenting an advertisement or commercial announcement. These time slots can be on television, radio, or digital platforms, and are typically sold on a schedule, in a batch of multiple slots, at a negotiated price per slot. One example is the popular 30-second television Primetime airing, which would play to viewers on a specific channel and during a predetermined break in a television program. Television networks designate air time segments with categories such as Daytime, Primetime, Late Night, and Overnights, and they designate prices for these categories that reflect the popularity of the programming and other factors.

What We Do For You

We've conducted television advertising campaigns for many, many clients, and we can help you, too.

Some advertisers wish to have it all handled by the agency. Yep, we can do that. We can analyze your intended customer, determine networks and locations that work for reaching them, and even work with the networks to get your ad on the air. If this is what you desire, get in touch and we'll get you started.

Some advertisers want to be able to take the reins. We're happy to help you get started, so you can take over and run your own campaign, your way.

Targeted Buying means you get the most efficient, effective schedule for your money. We get you the most important audience for your product, and stay within your budget.

No Limit on Locations or Networks! - We can air you ANYWHERE -- not just at one cable TV or broadcast station, or some batch of low power stations that nobody watches. The only limitation is the network clearance process, and we'll help you with that, too.

About our policies

Be sure to read and understand our policies regarding airings, payment terms, and earnings performance.

Have a TV commercial already made elsewhere, and just want to air it?

We love video production, and are happy to create a TV commercial for you. But a few folks come to us with their commercials already done. Advertisers who desire assistance to air their existing TV commercial can find out more on our Air Time Media Buying Consultation Services.

Start with an Ad Evaluation: FIND OUT IF YOUR AD IS READY FOR PRIME TIME! $99. Receive a detailed report.

IMPORTANT: These days, networks are turning down more new ads than ever (they always love ours, though!).

We've reviewed lots of commercials submitted for airing that are, quite frankly, not ready for prime time (or any time). Seems like everybody and their dog has access to cheap video equipment, and the web is littered with part-time, weekend videographers with a boatload of poor taste, and zero broadcast TV experience. Others are exerienced cameramen, or worked in TV years ago, but aren't up on current standards for TV commercial production and technical requirements.

Networks love our Cheap TV Spots® productions because we make it our business to know the current technical and content standards -- and we build every ad to meet those standards.

Why you need ad evaluation: In a word, "CLEARANCE." All networks conduct a review of each ad before airing, and say "no" to those that don't comply. Networks cannot legally air a commercial that does not meet certain technical specifications and content standards. Our Evaluation helps you reduce the chance of rejection by working the bugs out before we present the ad to the networks.

Broadcast TV standards are not what you think. A large number of video producers today assume they're getting things right, yet fail to comply with FCC technical rules or are ignorant of laws and customs governing content. Shooting with a brand new camera and editing with new software isn't enough. There's more to it. A LOT MORE...

The networks love to air good-looking ads - it makes the network look good, and keeps people from changing channels. Crappy ads? Not so much.

We offer a low-cost TV commercial evaluation service to closely, objectively examine your ad, and advise you in how to bring your ad up to broadcast standards before the networks see it. We check technical standards, as well as those harder-to-gauge aspects, like broadcast acceptability, and effectiveness. Some commercials just plain do not meet community standards (despite what you saw on that "Girls Gone Ga-Ga" commercial). Other ads, made by amateurs, simply don't get the point across. Trying to air such ads just results in frustration for you. Let us help!

Not sure where you should air?

Cheap TV Spots® is here to help, with network and schedule (time, place, and frequency) recommendations.

People often ask us the same questions:

  1. How much should I spend?
  2. How many spots do I get for X amount of money?
  3. What's the ROI for advertising on TV? (How much will I make if I spend X dollars?)

OKAY.  Let’s answer these.

1.) How much should I spend?  

Depends.  How much you got?

No, seriously.  The "technical answer" is that you should spend at least 5 to 15% of your gross profits (the money coming in before you pay any bills) OR your projected gross profits, if you're just starting out.  Not all businesses are created equal, and your business may need to advertise tons more than this, just to get noticed.  BUT, there's definitely such a thing as spending too little on TV advertising, like buying one single, local airing in a month.  Not gonna do it.

How Much Should I Spend? (CHART)

2.) How many spots do I get for X amount of money? 

Quite a lot!

Kidding aside, no respectable seller of air time can tell you exactly how many spots you get, without a bunch of details about your campaign: which network(s), how much money we talkin' 'bout [see question #1], when do you start and how long do you stay on the air, do you want to get fancy and go on a particular show, are we talking the whole USA or just Downtown Dallas?  One thing's for sure, EVERY AIR TIME SCHEDULE IS DIFFERENT.

Just as a house doesn't cost the same in every town in America, air time varies from place to place, time to time, and network to network.

3.) What's the ROI/CPM for advertising on TV? 

If there was an absolute, etched-in-stone answer to this, we would spell it out to you right here.

Read our Earnings Disclaimer.

If returns on advertising dollars could be calculated exactly in advance, it be a whole different ball game for internet, magazine, newspaper, direct mail, billboards, and radio advertising.

The key to finding the right mix of advertising is to test, experiment, be bold, and patient at the same time.

ROI: Return On Investment. Your return on investment depends on the demand for your product or service in the marketplace and the amount of advertising you do. Outside forces (competitors, events, trends) can also affect the picture.

Advertising is an expense of doing business. Each business is unique -- there isn't a chart showing that "$X"-dollars of advertising always produces "$Y"-dollars of income. This is because what you gain from advertising depends greatly upon what you are advertising, your pricing, the general appeal of your offer, and your ability to fulfill your customer's needs.

One thing is for sure - the less you spend, the less you get.

Since most of us aren't lucky enough to have a "mole" in our competitor's accounting department, the best bet is to spend what you can afford (that 5-15% we mentioned above), and adjust your air time expenditures as you go along.

CPM: Cost Per Thousand. CPM (where the "M" represents the Roman numeral for "thousand") is what it costs to reach 1,000 viewers. For television, a per-airing rate is offered by a given network, with some pretty complex calculations behind it. The per-airing rate may vary throughout the day depending on how many viewers are likely to be watching at that time. The CPM lets you know a bit about how big the audience could be, and aids in finding a bargain. The lower the CPM, the better - unless it's a channel where nobody's watching!

Some networks and shows generally get more viewers than others, as you might expect. The number isn't hard and fast. Even the networks get surprised sometimes.

Finding the lowest cost for the greatest number of the right viewers is exactly what we can tune into for you.

Air Time Services - What We Offer

Airwave Orchestration Service - Targeted Air Time Campaign Consultation that helps you understand how media buying works so you can make better decisions and save money.

AUDIENCE TARGETING - Let's strategize! We can help you understand and figure out how to reach the most important audience for your product, and use your air time budget wisely. We look at your product, audience, and budget, and fine tune an approach for your campaign goals.

AIR ANYWHERE - We're NATIONWIDE! For over a decade, we've helped clients get on the air locally, regionally, and nationally - NOT just one cable TV or broadcast station, or a batch of low power stations that nobody watches.

WITHIN BUDGET - Many agencies won't even return your call unless you have $60,000 per month to spend on air time. We're not like that.  Not only will we talk to you, we'll explain the process so you become a well-informed customer, and understand our recommendations for your campaign. 

NO LONG-TERM CONTRACTS - Unlike many other agencies, we won't lock you into a long-term monthly billing cycle. We'll help you understand your markeplace, and set you on the right path.

AIR TIME RESEARCH - Research is a time-intensive endeavor. We offer our research services to non-clients who are creating a marketing budget or business plan, as well as to folks with an ad they're ready to air.

We can help you explore the cable, broadcast or satellite outlets where your ad could be aired. We offer a low-cost, custom service for those who need to find out rates in a particular area or on a specific network, or who would like an air time schedule that reflects current rates. Because air time research is a time-intensive process and we want to offer you high quality information, we ask for a small fee.

Note: Air time is a commodity. The rates provided for a particular network or program do not guarantee that the quoted air time will be available for that price in the future. Estimates do not necessarily reflect the future price or guarantee the availability of future air time. The networks decide whether an ad is cleared to air and at what price when the completed TV commercial is submitted and approved.

Our Air Time Research service starts at only $99 per network, daypart or show.

We'll Help You Get On the Air


Air Time Secrets

Find out the secrets of buying air time the right way - visit our Air Time Academy!