Blackout May Be Hurting WCBS With Candidate Spending

Considering Time Warner Cable serves a large chunk of New York City, it stands to reason the WCBS blackout would hurt the station’s efforts to attract ad dollars in the heavily contested Big Apple mayor’s race. And indeed, that appears to be the case with only one candidate having booked time covering any period during the darkness that started Aug. 2.

That’s Democrat Bill de Blasio, who has placed an order worth about $34,000. Fellow candidate Christine Quinn, who had used the CBS-owned station heavily in July, has apparently looked elsewhere.

The de Blasio WCBS buy runs through Sunday, when a $14,000 spot on “60 Minutes” is scheduled, according to files posted on the FCC Web site. The contract also calls for a pair of $2,000 spots on the 11 p.m. news over the weekend.

The candidate’s buy could gain value if Time Warner Cable and CBS settle their fee dispute soon. The battle has CBS-owned stations off the air in Time Warner Cable homes in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and some other markets.

In New York, Time Warner Cable is the dominant cable operator in Manhattan and Staten Island and also serves parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

The only other candidate to turn to WCBS during the blackout is New York comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer, who has been running ads that include $3,000 spots during the weekday late local news.

The election isn’t until Sept. 10, so WCBS could still attract more candidates and dollars as the date approaches, even if the blackout continues.

Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has booked time valued at about $140,000 on WABC as he begins to take to the air. Late news weekday time is going for $3,500 a spot, 75% higher than on WCBS. Weiner is also paying $3,000 a spot for the 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. hour with “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune,” according to the FCC records posted by the station.

Democratic candidate Bill Thompson has also booked time on WABC that looks to be valued at over $160,000 and de Blasio is on the air this week.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate Joe Lhota, who is on the air now, has booked what appears to be close to $140,000 worth of time for early September leading up to election day, with late local news spots going for $3,800 then. Included in the Lhota buy are spots on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” costing $1,700-$1,800.

Also buying ahead of time on WABC is Democrat Daniel Squadron, who is running for New York City public advocate. One buy for close to $120,000 includes a substantial prime-time investment, including a $12,000 spot on Wednesday, Sept. 4, which could be in a repeat of “Modern Family.” A $6,500 spot could run in a repeat of “Scandal.” 

On WNBC, where Quinn has been running spots in the last week, her campaign has agreed to pay $3,000 a spot on the late news.

Spitzer has been paying the same amount, while turning to “The Tonight Show” and Jimmy Fallon for additional exposure with spots going for $1,200 and $650, respectively. A “Meet the Press” spot on Aug. 11 went for $5,500, files indicate. He also paid $9,500 each for a pair of spots in a New York Giants pre-season game.

Weiner has also booked time on the New York Fox station, WNYW, with one buy valued at around $74,000. Late news spots in the 10 p.m. hour are scheduled to cost $2,500 each, while re-runs of the “Big Bang Theory” have spots going for the same amount.

WPIX, the CW station in New York, has no political files posted on the FCC Web site.

Politicians are entitled to a lowest unit rate, which means they are entitled to the bottom prices that regular advertisers get.



1 comment about "Blackout May Be Hurting WCBS With Candidate Spending".
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  1. Edmund Singleton from Winstion Communications, August 16, 2013 at 5:28 a.m.

    Have you seen the clownish make-up of the women on WCBS-TV news, the only thing lacking is a big red nose...

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