What Could the $9 Billion TV Upfront Buy in Digital Terms?

Advertisers will pledge a total of $9 billion to the big five TV networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CW) during this year’s network TV upfronts, according to a New York Times estimate published this week.

What’s that equal in digital media?

The majority of broadcast upfront commitments do come bundled with some digital elements, but ClickZ dug up some reports and forecasts to try to quantify $9 billion worth of ad spend from a purely digital perspective. So what could $9 billion pay for in the world of digital advertising…?

Every online ad bought in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2010.

According to the IAB’s annual advertising revenue report, a total of $7.5 billion was spent on digital advertising in Q4 2010, spread across a variety of channels including search, display, video, rich media, sponsorships, email, lead generation and classified ads.

Every ad Google sold worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2010.

Google’s global revenues for the final three months of 2010 totaled $8.44 billion. That includes search advertising, ads on YouTube and other properties, and its display ad network.

Every ad bought on social media sites this year and next.

According to predictions issued by local media consulting firm BIA/Kelsey, marketers are set to spend $3.4 billion on ads on social media sites in 2011, and $4.7 billion in 2012. Those estimates include display ads on sites such as Facebook, as well non-display paid placements such as Twitter’s promoted trending topics and promoted tweets.

All global mobile marketing activity throughout this year… and most of next.

According to forecasts by IT research and consultancy firm Gartner, $3.3 billion will be spent on mobile marketing campaigns globally in 2011. In 2012 that number will rise to $6.8 billion, totaling around $10 billion for the two-year period. The company includes a range of channels in those forecasts, including mobile web and in-app display, search and map-related marketing, audio and video content, and SMS, MMS, and instant messaging related activity.

A Twitter promoted trending topic every day for 246 years.

According to agency sources, Twitter currently pitches its promoted trending topic to advertisers at a rate of $100,000 for a 24-hour sponsorship. Based on that figure, $9 billion could finance a promoted trending topic 365 days a year, 246 times over.

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