Five years ago, Comcast Corp. was the nation’s 50th-largest advertiser. Comcast, now with movie, news, and entertainment giant NBCUniversal under its corporate umbrella, rose to second-largest last year behind Procter & Gamble.
Kantar Media says Comcast spent $1.7 billion in ads on consumers in 2012 (its direct-mail fliers aren’t part of its estimate).
Procter & Gamble spent $2.8 billion. No. 3 was General Motors with $1.6 billion. AT&T was fourth with $1.6 billion, down 14% from 2011, and Verizon was $1.4 billion, down 13%. The fifth place was taken by L’Oreal with $1.5 billion.
Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury told The Philadelphia Enquirer that the cable-TV and media company does not publicly disclose its corporate advertising budget but noted, “Certainly, with Comcast and NBCU, we are one of the largest advertisers in the United States.”
The company is doing a lot of advertising as it tries to improve its image with the Xfinity brand and competes with other telecom services providers.
Comcast’s ad spend in 2012 leaped over those of GM, AT&T, and Verizon Communications, all of which cut ad budgets when compared with the previous year. Comcast was fifth in 2011.
Jon Swallen, Kantar’s chief research officer, said Comcast’s elevated ranking is the result of its presence in two ad-intensive businesses: telecom and films. About $600 million of the advertising, or one-third of the total, promoted movies from Universal Studios.
Universal film advertising was flat between 2011 and 2012 but Comcast boosted marketing of Xfinity and telecom services by 20% to $650 million, Swallen said.
Kantar estimates that 50% of Comcast’s advertising was spent on television, 12% on the Internet and 8% in newspapers. Comcast divided the remaining ad spend among billboards, magazines, and radio.
Kantar estimated that total advertising expenditures rose 3% in 2012 to $140 billion.
RBR-TVBR observation: Keep in mind, many of Comcast’s ads are placed on the networks it owned 50% of in the NBCU stable (now 100% ownership after buying GE’s stake)—so before the accounting kicks in, the giant leap was largely boosted from advertising with itself. You can also count the promotional house ads it runs via Comcast Spotlight during unsold local ad avails on cable networks.