2020 TV Compensation Study - Results



Media Staffing Network and Radio+Television Business Report joined forces to poll the television industry and offer owners, operators, and managers updated statistics regarding pay for new hires and established sellers, including average income of television sellers.

The 2020 Television Sales Compensation Study is designed to help owners, operators, and managers budget and compete more effectively for sales talent.


 Survey Results



What is the current income of your average seller at your station?




Please note that this survey was done prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic so figures could change in our 2021 survey. Our research does show that the average television seller is among the higher earners in a community and in comparing to radio, their average sellers earn between $40,000 and $59,000



Do you have seperate sales staff for traditional vs. digital sales?


MSN INSIGHT: Forecast is that stations will continue to grow the amount of ‘one team selling all products’ as more digital savvy employees join their sales teams.



Are new hires paid a guarantee plus commission or against earned commission during their initial guarantee period?


MSN INSIGHT: Many companies allow new hires to earn a commission on top of their salary which is a great benefit. This figure outranks radio where only 45.5% allow new hires to earn above their guarantee.

For established sellers do you pay:

 Base Plus Commission *Salary Only *Commission Only * Other


MSN INSIGHT While television appears to have more sellers on a salary than in radio, it is still a extremely low percentage. This is a key trend to pay attention to as we start to rebuild staffs many workers may be interested in a more secure compensation plan.


Is there a different compensation plan for new hires vs. established sellers?

MSN INSIGHT: Television appears to be lagging in offering new hires a different compensation plan to help them ramp up. As we start to navigate the ‘new normal’ we will track these changes. It is our advice to offer new hires a different plan while they are growing in their ability to create a billing list.

Are new hires paid a guarantee for an initial period while being trained?

MSN INSIGHT: Television was an early adapter to the base plus commission model which is more attractive when attracting and retaining staff.


Does your company pay on collections or billing?


 MSN INSIGHT: Television companies seem to pay more on billings vs. collections while radio still has a high amount of stations paying on collections.

If not paid on collections or billing, does the company do a charge back when a client does not pay?



Are non-revenue accomplishments/goals part of the compensation plan for established sellers?



Are non-revenue accomplishments/goals parts of the compensation plan for new hires?


MSN INSIGHT:  Currently the majority of television sellers are paid primarily on billing without any other tasks being tied to compensation. This is something that as restructuring occurs and having smaller staffs could change. MSN always advises new hires compensation packages include measurable objectives to earn their guarantee/draw.


 Select the amount closest to the current annual income of your top seller:

MSN INSIGHT:  Television is dominant when comparing to other local media earners with high billers earning between $110,000+. Again this will be tracked in future to assess changes caused by the COVID-19 crisis.


 Average number of sellers on a team:


 Survey Details

To develop the TV Sales Compensation Study, Media Staffing Network and RBR+TVBR partnered on a survey to gather information from across the industry to give us a good look at the trends in broadcast television. From the time the survey for this TV Sales Compensation Study was conducted and now, much has changed due to COVID-19. While unemployment has soared, the stats we see seem to indicate that many employees will return to work as businesses reopen, which makes it difficult to pinpoint an accurate figure.

What will remain constant is the need for quality media sellers, now and in the future, but perhaps with different skill sets.This was our first compensation study in TV, and we were very pleased to hear from 33 different companies in 44 different markets, giving us a good representation of the industry from all size markets and groups. As we continue to study compensation trends for media sellers, we will be able to track changes, in addition to examining how different media stack up against each other.

For more information


Laurie Kahn, CEO/Founder of Media Staffing Network