US Media and Entertainment Digital Ad Spending 2020

Despite Uptick in Streaming and Gaming, Pandemic Causes Spending to Decline

About This Report
The consumption of at-home media and entertainment thrived amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the total shutdown of live events and the pause on film and TV production will cause digital ad spending to decline in 2020.

Executive Summary

The US media industry will decrease its digital ad spending by 9.3% to $6.28 billion in 2020, while the US entertainment industry will reduce its digital ad spend by 6.9% to $7.03 billion. The digital ad dollars they will spend should go predominantly toward mobile and display, particularly video (which we classify as a subset of display).

What will be media and entertainment’s respective shares of total US digital ad spending?

Media will make up 4.7% of total US digital ad spending in 2020, while entertainment will account for 5.2%. Gaming and video streaming companies have spent heavily on digital ads throughout the pandemic, but the shutdown of live entertainment and film and TV production will cause digital spending by both verticals to decline overall this year.

When will digital ad spending return to pre-pandemic levels?

It depends on when live entertainment and film and TV production will return to normal. As of now, we expect the media and entertainment industries will increase digital ad spending in 2021 by 14.2% and 20.7%, respectively, which would place spending by both verticals above their 2019 levels.

Which digital ad formats will experience growth?

Video is the only format where both industries will increase investments in 2020. Media will spend 9.3% more on video ads, and entertainment will spend 13.1% more. Spending on display ads (which include both video and nonvideo display ads) will increase in entertainment but decrease on the media side.

How much will each industry spend on mobile?

Both the media and entertainment industries will allocate most of their digital spending to mobile ads (59.1% and 78.5%, respectively). This year, mobile’s share of media digital ad spend will be less than the industry average of 68.0%, while entertainment will devote a greater percentage of its spending to mobile ads than will any other industry we track.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report details our annual forecasts of US media and entertainment digital ad spending. It includes a comprehensive overview of total digital ad spending, as well as estimates by device and format.

KEY STAT: The US entertainment industry will spend $7.03 billion on digital advertising this year, down by 6.9% from 2019.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Media and Entertainment Digital Ad Spending Outlook
  3. Digital Ad Spending by Device
  1. Digital Ad Spending by Format
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Dave Antonelli
Dish Media
Director, Sling TV
Interviewed June 12, 2020
Arsen Avakian
Cooler Screens
Co-Founder and CEO
Interviewed June 17, 2020
Danielle Cravatt
Senior Vice President, Client Partnerships
Interviewed June 8, 2020
Klarn DePalma
MNI Targeted Media
Executive Vice President
Interviewed June 3, 2020
Stephani Estes
Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Media
Interviewed June 8, 2020
Doug Grumet
AMP Agency
Senior Vice President, Media
Interviewed June 9, 2020
Kunal Gupta
Founder and CEO
Interviewed June 4, 2020
Cheryl Huckabay
The Richards Group
Managing Principal, Media
Interviewed June 15, 2020
Jennifer Kohl
Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Integrated Media
Interviewed June 10, 2020
Todd Krizelman
Founder and CEO
Interviewed June 4, 2020
James Malins
General Manager, Cross-Channel Strategic Solutions
Interviewed June 25, 2020
Japhia Mangan
Senior Account Director
Interviewed June 12, 2020
Mike Menkes
Analytic Partners
Senior Vice President
Interviewed June 9, 2020
Jon Morgenstern
Senior Vice President and Head of Investment
Interviewed June 18, 2020
Frost Prioleau
Interviewed June 3, 2020
Jon Schulz
Viant Technology
Interviewed June 10, 2020
Scott Symonds
AKQA Media
Managing Partner, Media
Interviewed June 16, 2020
Jeremy Tate
DWA, a Merkle Company
Senior Vice President, General Manager
Interviewed June 4, 2020
Vanessa Vignon
Ubisoft Entertainment
President, Audience, Acquisition, and Management
Interviewed June 23, 2020
April Weeks
Executive Vice President, Media Services and Operations
Interviewed June 15, 2020
Brian Wieser
Global President, Business Intelligence
Interviewed June 26, 2020

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Blake Droesch


Oscar Orozco
Senior Forecasting Analyst