TV Networks Rethink Earned Media For Future Presidential Runs

Presidential TV marketing and advertising can only take you so far. Next time around, candidates might do well to wrangle even newer messaging/branding alternatives.

Hillary Clinton spent much more on TV advertising than Donald Trump -- nine times as much in cable TV advertising. And look what happen?

Earned media, of course, did wonders for Trump. But Clinton also got her big share. Was this too much for this unusual election season -- or just an helpful entertainment tool?

Concerning Trump’s big appearances on cable TV news networks, Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, in speaking at Harvard in October said: "We probably did put on too many of the campaign rallies in the early months unedited. In hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have done that as much."

TV platforms like CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, might think about the tool of earned media content the next time around -- as well as whether viewership might be affected and network advertising. Would that mean presidential candidates themselves look to spend more on advertising on TV --- or elsewhere?



Overall, political revenue for many TV networks, TV stations and pay TV operators grew 35% to 50% over the last Presidential election in 2012.  Major cable TV networks -- Fox News Channel, CNN, and MSNBC -- made major advertising and viewership gains this season.

Still, while TV platforms did benefit from the big political season, it was under expectations -- especially for many TV stations.

So what happens four years from now? Or two years from now during the mid-term elections? Digital media would seem to be a bigger factor in political advertising and marketing, maybe even social media.

Earned media will continue to be a factor. But pure earned media impressions will need to be looked at more closely.  Making bold -- or at some suggest outrageous statements -- may work. But now that Trump has turned this into a new art form -- somewhat singularly his thing --  what is left?

Will any of this on-air content be a trap for political candidates? For TV networks?

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