If you look at USA Today’s Ad Meter and think it is a little lighter than in years past, you are not wrong. CBS sold 23 fewer commercials for Super Bowl LIII than NBC did for Super Bowl LII. Ad rates stayed flat, so it is hard to say exactly what scared advertisers off.
Actually, it is hard to say whether or not advertisers were scared off at all. 54 companies advertised during Super Bowl LII. That is the same number of companies that advertised during this year’s game. The difference is the ad buys were much smaller in 2019.
The drop in ad sales gave CBS more inventory to promote its own offerings. The network aired 33 promos for its own programming. NBC aired just 19 during Super Bowl LII.
CBS All Access, the network’s over-the-top digital platform stole the show in this realm with ads for the new season of Star Trek: Discovery and a reboot of The Twilight Zone getting strong reactions on Twitter.
A drop in ad sales, and thus ad revenue, is bad news for CBS, but it might be worse news for Fox. Super Bowl LIII was the lowest rated game in ten years. Advertisers will almost certainly take that into account when mapping out their advertising strategy with Fox, which airs Super Bowl LIV in 2020.