Streaming video platforms led by Netflix spent more than $55 million on advertising this summer, a 46% increase over a year ago, according to a report released Tuesday.
Not surprisingly, Netflix accounted for most of the advertising outlay. The Los Gatos, Calif., giant spent an estimated $31 million on promoting 100 shows with more than 900 unique ads across websites, TV networks and print publications this summer, according to data from New York firm MediaRadar.
MediaRadar Chief Executive Todd Krizelman said ad spending has increased as more companies such as Facebook develop original shows. That places more pressure on companies such as Netflix, which already outspends its competitors on ads. For example, Hulu had only 225 unique ads compared with Netflix’s 940 this summer.
“For [Netflix] to have the level of success that they are having, they have created all of these different forms of content, and that content has to be marketed for people to know it exists for them,” Krizelman said.
MediaRadar’s report tracked six platforms that stream video over the Internet, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube Premium, Facebook Watch and HBO Now.
The ad spend surge is being driven by rising competition among streaming platforms that are eager to promote all the new shows they are investing in. Netflix alone is projected to spend as much as $13 billion on original productions this year.
“In today’s landscape, you are looking for audience wherever the audience goes,” Krizelman said. “To get more of their time means to be in front of them in other environments.”
Facebook has been rolling out ads to raise awareness of its video platform, Facebook Watch, including one that recently aired on “Saturday Night Live,” said Sibyl Goldman, director of entertainment partnerships, in an interview this month.
The social network has marketed such shows as “Sorry for Your Loss,” in which actress Elizabeth Olsen portrays a young widow struggling with grief. Still, some critics say that many people don’t know what Facebook Watch is, even though it launched last year.
Netflix has also purchased billboard faces in areas such as Sunset Plaza and the Chateau Marmont, insiders told The Times this month.
Krizelman says he expects more ad spending to happen this winter, when some platforms launch shows and TV network programs are on a break. It takes “advantage of viewers staying in to binge shows, while avoiding the cold,” he said.