Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Death, Taxes and Advertising

APRIL 15, 2009

TV, radio biggest winners

Taxes are a big business and not just for Uncle Sam.

According to Nielsen, $220 million was spent by tax services companies on advertising in 2008, up 11% from 2007.

Nearly $171 million, or 78% of the total tax prep advertising budget, was spent by H&R Block, American Tax Relief, Jackson Hewitt, JKH Holding and TaxMasters (TMIRS Enterprises).

Most of the budget was spent in Q1 and Q4 (the period preceding Tax Day) in traditional media such as TV and radio.

Nielsen estimates that $76.9 million, or 35% of total spending, went toward cable TV. A further $40.5 million was spent on spot TV and $35.7 million on network TV. Network and spot radio combined received $34.4 million, or 16% of total tax services advertising.

Only 3% of total tax services ad spending, or $6.4 million, was online, which seems strange in light of the fact that more and more filing is being done via the IRS’s e-file.

Looking ahead, whispers abound that higher taxes are coming from a new presidential administration. True or not, total ad spending by tax services firms may increase in coming years.

With that in mind, perhaps Benjamin Franklin’s adage will have to be amended: “ this world nothing is said to be certain, except death and taxes”—and advertising.

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