LONDON: Online brands have doubled their TV advertising expenditure in the UK over the past five years, helping boost total TV spending to a new high of £4.91bn in 2014, according to new data.

That figure represents all the money invested by advertisers in commercial TV – linear spot and sponsorship, broadcaster VOD and product placement – and is a 6% increase on 2013 according to full year revenue figures provided to Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV, by UK commercial TV broadcasters.

"This is the fifth consecutive year that TV advertising revenue has increased in the UK," noted Lindsey Clay, chief executive of Thinkbox.

Part of that is down to the likes of Amazon, Google and Netflix increasing their investment in TV advertising – each spending between £8.5m and £10.5m – so that online brands and services grouped together now form the second biggest spending category on TV at around £400m.

Further, there were 800 new or returning advertisers to TV in 2014 (returning after no TV advertising for at least five years), including Ryanair, the airline,, the travel business, and Swinton Insurance, the financial services brand.

Two thirds of TV set viewing in 2014 was devoted to commercial TV channels, meaning that the average person watched 2 hours 25 minutes of commercial TV a day.

And while commercial impacts – the number of TV ads watched at normal speed –has decreased by 3.3%, Thinkbox took a longer view, pointing out that these were up 27% over the past decade; similarly, the average viewer watched 45 ads a day, seven more than ten years ago.

Clay said the evident confidence in TV advertising was a reflection not only of the medium's "unrivalled ability to create business profit and sales", but was also "a testament to the brilliant content invested in by the UK broadcasters".

She added that as TV viewing evolved to become more flexible for viewers, "this is opening up new opportunities for brands to harness its power".

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff