TV Stations, Local Advertisers Brace For 2012 Political Ad Season

Too much of a good thing? TV stations will be getting a whiff of this next year when it comes to a really big kick up of TV political ad revenues -- estimated to net north of $3.2 billion.

The rub of these big election years always hits regular, nontraditional political advertisers like a black-eye. That's because political advertising -- by FCC mandate -- not only gives marketers the "lowest unit charge," it allows political spots to pre-empt a TV station's more regular, nontraditional political media.

Regular TV advertisers can be left in the lurch -- not too good for any media planning strategy. Some ad agencies are looking to get around this by building packages around additions of "sponsorships," "brand mentions" and buys on a station's Internet business.

The belief -- from those media agencies -- is that these added pieces of a TV buy will help lessen the blow TV advertisers might take in 2012. As "packages," their local TV spots might now be "non-preemptable" local ad spots, according to a TVNewscheck report.

Where this ends up as a legal or regulatory matter is anyone's guess. But one thing is for sure: This is just the start of a negotiation salvo.

Packaging in local TV spots with theoretically "higher" priced sponsorship entitlements, as well as somewhat lower-unit priced (but higher CPM) Web site business ad avails, may even out local TV media buys for traditional spot TV advertisers.

Better reach? Better media ROI? As usual, these are the big questions.

But given continued lower ratings on broadcast TV, many might say local TV advertisers have more options to move money elsewhere -- to other local Internet businesses and/or local cable MSOs and interconnects.

After a rough late 2008 and a tough 2009, TV stations should temper their giddiness about the 2012 political advertising windfall -- even after witnessing a robust 2010, thanks to record political TV advertising revenues and the usual local TV Olympic ad spike.

There is no doubt traditional TV advertising platforms -- in all its current forms -- continue to defy expectations by new media and technology pundits.

Federal regulatory requirements aside, no TV buying or selling executives' memories should be clouded by the deep recessionary 2009 year, which still places TV stations well below their record TV advertising totals earlier in the decade.



3 comments about "TV Stations, Local Advertisers Brace For 2012 Political Ad Season ".
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  1. Mark Walker from aka Media Mark, November 9, 2011 at 1:30 p.m.

    Isn't it about time to remove the LUR rules? With corporations acting as people, and spending unlimited amounts via PACs, do we REALLY need to give the over-paid "public servants" a special, low ad rate?

    And the flip side is, these same elected officials continue to steal broadcast spectrum to auction at even lower rates- while continuing to ask for the LUR treatment?

    Enough is enough- end the LUR rules... right away!

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 9, 2011 at 3:24 p.m.

    Everybody will be suffering from nails on a blackboard syndrome before the end of 2012.

  3. William Hughes from Arnold Aerospace, November 9, 2011 at 9:05 p.m.

    I consider these ads A NATIONAL DISGRACE! With the economy in the shape it's in, with people struggling to make ends meet, the Candidates will spend Billions of dollars to SLANDER each other. Money that could better be used to help people put Roofs over their heads, food on their tables and clothes on their back. Thank Heaven for CDs and DVDs, as thats all I be playing whenever I'm listening to Music or watching TV. I will also disconnect my Telephone from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, so I won't have to listen to your disgusting Robocalls as well.

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