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Scale of charities’ Christmas TV advertising competition revealed

Scale of charities’ Christmas TV advertising competition revealed

Charity TV adverts in December face considerable competition from other charities’ TV campaigns, according to analysis conducted by digital media agency, equimedia. 

The agency reports that, over the 2016 period, charities are competing against an average of 10 other causes for viewers’ attention. It suggests that “this means that channel viewers could not only be suffering from Charity Commercial Fatigue, but that each organisation could be directly competing for attention on the same channel as other charities active in very similar fields”. 

Nielsen data

Equimedia analysed Nielsen data on December 2016 TV ad campaigns. They found that there were:

  • 60 charities running TV campaigns in December
  • on 413 digital, freeview and satellite TV channels

The most popular TV channels for advertisers had up to 35 charity campaigns running at the same time, sometimes appearing in the same period as organisations “with very similar interests and propositions”.

Overall there were an average of 10 charity adverts seeking donations on each channel.

The most popular channels for charity commercials in December were:

Table: TV channels used by charities for Christmas 2016 advertising

TV channels used by charity types for at Christmas 2016. Source: equimedia and Nielsen

Louise Burgess, COO and founder of equimedia, accepts that Christmas is a key time for charity appeals. She commented: 

“However, what many may not realise is that their campaign could be so much more successful if it were not competing with so many others at the same time and on the same channel – and in many cases, against charities with very similar interests.

“For very worthy causes to truly stand out at this vital time of year, they should be considering every communications option available to them, and how they can work together. TV has an undeniable impact and reach, but it should be matched with concurrent and cost effective digital strategies to make sure that the cause can be located online and that the messages align. In some cases we found that heavy TV charity advertisers were entirely dependent on their TV ad campaign as a donation source.”





Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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