Commentary

Fall Political Commercials: Cheer, Coax or Cringe?

For TV stations, happy days are here again -- at least for the next eight weeks or so.

That’s because political advertising season is among us -- bigger and better (wink, wink) than ever.

Some estimate that stations will see a sharp 12% to 15% improvement in advertising revenues this year. You, of course, need to factor in some of that Winter Olympic money.

Kantar Media CMAG says about $2.6 billion will be spent on political ads, with local TV getting around 60% of it.

Not only will the money come, but also drama, name-calling, and, no doubt, outright inconsistencies, perhaps more so than in previous years.

If you are a keen watcher of news programs  -- both on network and cable -- you’ll see a lot of political advertising. That’s because people tend not to record news content, preferring to watch it live. All that compelling messaging, or competing noise, will be yours to digest -- and decipher.

Perhaps some of this viewing has already started. Fox News Channel claimed the third best overall prime-time viewing of any network in August --- only trailing ESPN and USA.

If you want to look further into political commercials this season, stations are now required to have political advertising files on hand for further inspection. But this will only yield some insight.

You won’t be able to figure out exactly where a political advertiser’s money is coming from, and you won’t be able to complain too much about the identification of those ads.

But look at it this way. If you get bored with lame crime dramas, you’ll have a lot of fun with guessing games over that attack ad you’ve seen one too many times.

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