How to Buy TV Airtime


Good-quality television advertisements often have a big impact on us. The best ones often get us talking to our friends because they are funny or memorable in some way. The problem for small businesses or start-ups is that advertising on TV is expensive. Production costs for broadcast-quality video can be enormous and you need to be prepared to spend 5 to 10 percent of your gross monthly profit for up to six months or longer to wage an effective TV campaign. Once you have identified a target audience demographic and everything else is in place, you'll want to get your TV commercial on the air as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

TV broadcast station
(TV Tower , Prague image by zimous from

Things You'll Need

  • Broadcast-quality TV ad on DVD or videotape
Step 1

Call one of your local TV or cable TV stations and ask to talk to a salesperson. Tell him you want to buy some air time and you would to see the station rate cards, demographics, brochures and anything else they have. Ask the representative if there is a particular video format required for the station's video ads.

Call the TV station
man on mobile phone. image by Harvey Hudson from
Step 2

Bring the video copy of your 15- to 30-second video ad to the meeting and be prepared to give it to the station representative when he comes to visit your office. Alternatively, tell him you'll bring the video when you pay for the air time.

Bring a video copy of your ad
durchblick image by Carmen Steiner from
Step 3

Contact every TV station in your local area to compare and judge the extent of exposure you want. Ask each station representative to send information packages that include their coverage and demographic data along with their rate cards prior to your meetings with them. This rate information will help you plan your TV ad budget before you actually sit down in face-to-face meetings with the station sales representatives.

Compare the extent of ad exposure.
compared or trainning image by v2 from
Step 4

At your meeting with the sales representative, negotiate to lower the rates you received on the rate cards. Never accept the going prices on the rate cards. Every rate card is negotiable. Your sales representative is primarily interested in his commission on your purchase.

Buy TV ad time slots.
5 vor 12 tv image by Silvia Bogdanski from
Step 5

Show your 15- to 30-second video ad to the TV station. If it is appropriate to the station and doesn't violate any terms of broadcast, it will accept and play it during your predetermined slots.

Show your ad to a TV station
advertising show board image by Alexey Klementiev from

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