August 20, 2012 at 5:01 PM CDT - Updated June 28 at 4:18 AM
Pros - As a free form of entertainment and information, Broadcast Television has remained the dominant advertising medium for more than 60 years, with good reason. Broadcast Television has a very large reach. It is available to nearly 100% of homes in the US, all they need is an antenna. The recent national switch to high definition digital broadcast as well as rising cable & satellite subscription costs have lead to a resurgence in Broadcast Television popularity, particularly among younger tech savvy 'cord cutters'. Digital broadcast allows for perfect picture reception as well as additional free digital subchannels. Additionally, local network affiliates are carried by almost all cable companies as a part of their basic tier of programming. Because of the massive reach, a single Broadcast Television commercial can reach an audience equal to dozens, or even hundreds of ads on Cable, Radio, Billboards, Yellow Pages, or in print.
Cons - The upfront cost of Broadcast Television is typically higher than Cable even though on the surface they seem very similar. The difference is the audience delivered. Local Broadcast Television audiences are measured in thousands, where individual Cable channel audiences are measured in hundreds or sometimes even by tens. Broadcast Television commercials are typically not sold in broad timeperiods, but on a program by program basis. This requires a little more effort on the advertiser's part to find which programs would be the most cost effective to reach the audience they are seeking. Consultation with a station representative or an agency can help advertisers with this by providing local ratings data. Broadcast Television has limited inventory, so some timeperiods can be driven by demand for a particular program. Alternative programs can sometimes be found to reach the same audience with a greater cost efficiency.