Summer vacation is usually a busy period for the advertising industry, but Israeli televison broadcasters and ad agencies alike say this year has been especially good: Unusually strong demand for air time has led Channel 2 franchise holders Reshet and Keshet to raise their prices by 10%.
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And the high demand isn't reflected in higher prices alone. While broadcast regulations limit prime-time advertising to just 40 minutes a day, both Channel 10 and Reshet have been airing 50 minutes of ads during peak viewing hours; with the consent of regulators in the case of Channel 10, while Reshet faces a disciplinary proceeding for exceeding the permitted ad time.
The CEO of the Leo Burnett Israel advertising agency, Guy Kelner, confirmed that the market is hot for local television this summer. "The demand for air time is almost double the amount permitted under regulations."
Revenues for Israel’s commercial broadcasters rose more than 8% in the first five weeks of summer vacation for most Israeli schools, from June 21 to July 29, according to the market research firm Ifat Advertising Monitoring. The value of TV advertising during this period was $250 million, based on rate-card prices, compared to $231 million in the same period in 2012. Internet advertising, according to Ifat, was up roughly 5%, from $106 million to $111.5 million. Print media continued to suffer, declining 15% year over year, to $175 million.
Kelner gives four reasons for the increased demand for TV advertising, starting with the general upturn after the social protests in Israel during the summer of 2011. "It's still not at pre-protest levels, but the market is much more active," he says.
The second reason, Kelner says, is massive advertising for seasonal products such as ice cream and soft drinks, sales of which always spike in summer. He also points out that the Jewish High Holy Days begin relatively early this year, on September 2 - just one day after the start of the new school year. That means summer and holiday ads are hitting the airwaves at the same time, pushing up demand. Finally, Kelner says, because so many Israelis go abroad in the second half of August advertisers bring out the big guns earlier in the summer.
Keshet and Reshet are also breaking summer rating records this year. Keshet has captured 30.1% of Israel's Jewish prime-time viewers, compared to 24.6% last year. Reshet’s ratings also soared, from 14.8% in the summer of 2012 to 22.5% this year. Channel 10, on the other hand, is having a disappointing season in the ratings, dropping from 12.7% of Jewish prime-time viewers last summer to 6.9% this year.
The overall number of Jewish-Israeli prime-time viewers barely budged this summer, growing from 63.2% of the potential audience in 2012 to 64% in 2013.