Political Ads To Hit $3.2B, Most In Local TV Buys

by , Nov 17, 2011, 10:59 AM
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Elephant-DonkeySome $3.2 billion in political advertising is estimated to hit TV networks, stations and other platforms for the 2012 general election window -- with the weight of these commercials creating more than their usual upset: Price hikes in TV commercials.

Philadelphia-based media-buying agency Harmelin Media expects TV commercial increases of between 7% and 15% in key election periods for non-political marketers -- especially for the spot TV market in the 45- to 60-day window before a primary or general election.

Within the general election window -- Sept. 7 through Nov. 6, 2012 -- it says rates are estimated to rise on average by 10%, due to political advertising. Early-morning and early-fringe dayparts -- those near news programming -- will have the greatest impact on rates: a projected 16% rise. It says early news, prime access and late news dayparts could see rates rise 9%.

It also warns there will be heavier-than-usual preemptions of existing schedules. (Political advertisers get the lowest unit rate and the ability to have the commercials inserted in place of non-political advertisers). There will also be overall viewer fatigue from the onslaught of political ads that will impact all TV advertising effectiveness during these periods.

Harmelin says, by way of Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis, that the overall $3.2 billion in expected TV political advertising will represent a 52% increase in TV dollars versus the last presidential campaign season in 2008. Plus, political candidates -- especially presidential candidates -- will be spending more. President Obama is expected to have a record media budget of $1 billion, given new rules that allow more money from corporations and unions.

The company says political advertising will total more than 50% of all spot TV expenditures in the final weeks of an election cycle. Over 80% of all TV political advertising is focused on local spot TV buys.

Not surprisingly the agency warns marketers to avoid news programming that is typically highly sought after by political candidates. But it warns that all dayparts can be affected. "Even during daytime, political spending has impact, with political ads representing 22% of all spots run within the daypart," the agency says in a report.

To get around some of these obstacles, it says to buy early and somewhat higher (non-preemptable schedules) to lock in specific inventory. Where broadcast is not an option, is says local cable TV has greater available inventory volume for advertisers. It also warns that there will be heavier-than-usual preemptions of existing schedules. (Political advertisers get the lowest unit rate and the ability to have the commercials inserted in place of non-political advertisers). There will also be overall viewer fatigue from the onslaught of political ads affecting all TV advertising effectiveness during these periods.

Harmelin says, by way of Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis, that the overall 3.2 billion in expected TV political advertising will represent a 52% increase in TV dollars versus the last presidential campaign season in 2008. In addition, political candidates -- especially presidential candidates -- will be spending more (President Obama is expected to have a record media budget of $1 billion) as a result of new rules allowing more money from corporations and unions.

Political advertising will total over 50% of all spot TV expenditures in the final weeks of an election cycle, Harmelin says. Over 80% of all TV political advertising is focused on local spot TV buys.

The agency alerts marketers that all dayparts can be affected. "Even during daytime, political spending has impact, with political ads representing 22% of all spots run within the daypart," the agency says in a report.

To get around any obstacles, it says to buy early and somewhat higher (non-preemptable schedules) to lock in specific inventory. Where broadcast is not an option, is says local cable TV has greater available inventory volume for advertisers.

Digital is also an option: "The large amount of inventory, ability to geo-target and double-digit growth of digital video consumption make this an alternative worth researching." It is expected that digital could be about 15% of total political spending in 2012.

3 comments on "Political Ads To Hit $3.2B, Most In Local TV Buys".

  1. William Hughes from Arnold Aerospace
    commented on: November 18, 2011 at 11:44 a.m.
    Thats $3,200,000,000 that could be put to creating jobs that place roofs over peoples heads as well as food on their tables and clothes on their backs. I consider these ads to be A NATIONAL DISGRACE. Fortunatly I will not have to put up with them, my cord is cut, and If I am watching TV it will be from mone of my DVDs. AFAIC these Buffoons can SLANDER each other all the ay to H-E (Double Hockey Sticks). :(
  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: November 18, 2011 at 2:13 p.m.
    Thank you, Supreme Court. Corporations are people too. Which one in your family owns huge compounds on both sides of the country ?
  3. Dennis Yu from BlitzLocal.com
    commented on: November 18, 2011 at 6:10 p.m.
    With TV ads getting so expensive, candidates will shift to Facebook, where the traffic is much cheaper, in greater volume, and more targeted.

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