US Media and Entertainment Digital Ad Spending Forecast 2021

What to Expect in 2022 as Both Industries Move Past Pandemic

Executive Summary

Ad spending for the US media and entertainment industries will increase every year through at least 2023. While growth rates, format mix, and device mix will vary as each industry faces different market dynamics, they both share a positive trajectory that reflects robust health in the overall digital ad market.

How large is the market for ad spending in the media and entertainment industries?

Digital ad spending by the media and entertainment industries will grow significantly through 2023, when media will reach $11.62 billion and entertainment $14.89 billion. Both industries grew their ad spending by double digits in 2021, despite lingering effects from the pandemic. Although media and entertainment share common characteristics and areas of overlap, the latter sector will see a more pronounced rebound, largely because of its reliance on high-priced ad formats like video.

What changing market conditions are affecting ad spending in these industries?

The pandemic clearly took a toll on spending. However, its effect was not as severe as we feared in March 2020, and the rebound has been stronger than anticipated across many industries, including media and entertainment. Media has been lifted by the resumption of TV production, which has given networks new content to advertise, while entertainment businesses including theme parks, movie theaters, and concert venues have restarted advertising after their pandemic-induced pauses.

What does this forecast mean for media and entertainment industry ad spending?

The gradual reopening of TV production and live entertainment has given companies in those industries impetus to resume digital ad spending at levels surpassing what we expected even before the pandemic. That means media and entertainment have essentially overcome the negative effects of COVID-19, even as some business continues to feel aftershocks of the public health crisis.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? Our latest forecasts of US digital ad spending by the media and entertainment industries, including the trends that shaped them since the pandemic took hold.

KEY STAT: With operations returning to normal, media and entertainment ad spending will grow to levels significantly higher than we expected in the early days of the pandemic, exceeding a combined $26 billion by 2023.

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Paul Verna


Ross Benes
Senior Analyst
Chuck Rawlings
Senior Researcher

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