Purchase and Preparation of Television Commercials by the Government

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-03-18.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                           DOCUMENT RESUME
00055 - [A1051714]
(Purchase and Preparation of Television Commercials by the
Government]. B-144618; LCD-77-415. March 18, 1977. Released Jujy
18, 1977. 4 pp.
Report to Sen.   Barry Goldwater; by Elmer B. Staats, Comptroller
Contact: Logistics and Communications Div.
Budget Function: General Government: Other General Government
congressional Relevance: Sen. Barry Goldwater.
          In response to a question concerning the amount the
Government spends to broadcast television ccmmercials, the total
cost of advertising for 31 Federal agencies for 1975 was
obtained by GAO. The figures included the cost of television
productions. Furchasing costs for advertising freo private
agencies were broken down by type of media, but in-house costs
were not. Therefore, the total costs for television commercials
alone has not been determined. Findings/Conclusions: The
agencies spent S141.6 million iD fiscal year 1974 and estimated
that S145.5 million would be spent in 1975 for advertising from
private agencies. In addition, they spent $47,497,600 for
in-house advertising in 1974 and estimated $53,287,700 for
fiscal year 1975. TLe purchased television production costs,
including both the purchase of television tine and of
professional services and materials associated with such
production, were S4,929,300 for fiscal year 1974 and $9,596,000
for '975. There was a large increase in television time costs
between the 2 years because of the Postal Service's national
stamp collecting campaign. (QO)
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    The Honorable Barry Goldwater
    United States Senate

    Dear Senator Goldwater:

         In your letter of January 3, 1977, you asked us to
    tell you how much the Government spends each year to broad-
    cast television commercials, the cost to prepare these
    commercials, and whether the commercials are prepared by a
    Federal agency or by private agencies.

         The information you requested is not readily avail-
    able and would require elicting the data from each agency
    and bureau in the Government.   Fortunately, we do have in-
    formation oni.and we believe will meet your needs. To answer
    a similar congressional inquiry in 1975, we obtained from
    31 agencies (see enc. I) the total cost of advertising
    including the cost of television productions. The costs
    of purchasing advertising from private agencies were broken
    out by the type of media, but the in-house costs which
    some agencies incur were not similarly broken out. Con-
    sequently, we are not able to tell you the total cost to
    the Government to prepare television commercials.   However,
    we believe the information  we have will be of interest to

          The 31 agencies questioned in 1975 spent $141.6 mil-
    lion in fiscal year 1974 and estimated that $145.5 million
    would be spent in fiscal year 1975 for advertising from
    private agencies.   In addition, the 31 agencies spent
    $47,497,600 for in-house advertising during fiscal year
    1974 and estimated $53,287,700 for in-house advertising
    for fiscal year 1975. The total cost for advertising
    for the 31 agencies--both purchased from priviate agencies
    and prepared in-house--amounts to $189 million for fiscal
    year 1974 and an estimated $199 million for fiscal year

         The expenditures and the various types of media pur-
    chased from private agencies are as follows:

                        1974                   1975

                      (actual)            (estimated)

Television        $   4,929,300           $    9,596,000
Radio                 2,006,400                2,428,700
Newspapers &
  magazines           30,168,400               30,487,800
Posters, bill-
  boards, &
  displays            15,592,100               13,004,000
Brochures &
  catalogs            25,673,000               31,676,000
Films                  5,464,400                6,277,900
Other                 57,757,700               52,029,0000

    Total         $141,591,300            $145,499,400

     The television costs include both the purchase of
television time and the purchase of professional services
and materials associated 'with producing television com-
mercials and public service messages. Television time
for public service messages is generally provided at no
charge by the local stations. The purchased television
production costs for the 31 agencies are as follows:

                                   FY 1974              FY 1975

                                    (actual)          (estimated)

Purchased television time      $     576,200          $3,739,300
Purchased professional
  services or materials            4,353,100           5,856,700

    Total                      $4,929,300             $9,596,000

     The increase in costs between fiscal years 1974 and
1975 to purchase television time is attributable to the
Postal Service's national stamp collecting campaign. The
Postal Service increased its purchase of television time
from $160,000 in fiscal year 1974 to $3,475,700 in fiscal
year 1975.


     We are enclosing a copy of our report on Government
advertising expenditures (LCD-76-415, dated October 6,
1975) for your information.  Please feel free to contact
us if you require any additional information.

                              Si r    y your

                              Comptroller General
                              of the United States

ENCLOSURE I                                       ENCLOSURE I

                  AGENCIES QUESTIONED IN 1975

                    ABOUT ADVERTISING COSTS

 1.   Department of Agriculture
 2.   Department of Commerce
 3.   Department of Defense
 4.   Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
 5.   Department of Housing and Urban Development
 6.   Department of the Interior
 7.   Department of Justice
 8.   Department of Labor
 9.   Department of State
10.   Department of Transportation
11.   Department of the Treasury
12.   ACTION
13.   American Revolution Bicentennial Administration
14.   Commission on Civil Right;
15.   Consumer Product Safety CDmmission
16.   Council on Environmental Quality
17.   Energy Research and Development Administration
,8.   Environmental Protection Agency
19.   Faual Employment Opportunity Commission
20.    Federal Communications Conlmission
21.    Federal Energy Administration
22.    Interstate Commerce Commission
23.    National Aeronautics and Space Administration
24.    Nuclear Regulatory Commission
25.    Selective Service Commission
26.    Small Business Administration
27.    Smithsonian Institution
28.    United States Civil Service Commission
29.    United States Information Agency
30.    United States Postal Service
31.    Veterans Administration