Millions Are Earmarked For TV Political Ads - But Where?

In terms of traditional presidential political TV and radio advertising -- with some $350 million to be spent near-term through the election -- President Trump holds a slight edge over former Vice President Joe Biden.

Kantar/Campaign Media Analyst Group says Trump has targeted to spend about $148.7 million, with $30.9 million coming from PACs (Political Action Committees) and advocacy groups that support him. For his part, Biden looks to spend $15 million, with around $66.1 million coming from PAC/advocacy groups.

But it doesn’t end there. Fund-raising keeps going.

When all is said and done, much more could be coming. The question is: Where will it all go?

Given the question mark over new fall TV shows -- as well as the regular high viewing of regular-season NFL games -- the answer might be obvious.



Advertising Analytics says the Biden campaign intends to spend $25 million on the NFL games this season. There is no word yet on what Trump will do.

But we imagine Trump will jump into this game -- either through local TV or national TV buying. (One question comes to mind: Will he be buying before or after any NFL players kneel during the national anthem?)

Kantar data doesn’t break down how much local TV and national TV will get.

We can obviously assume that local TV will see a sizable piece -- as it has in previous presidential elections. TV station newscasts in key battleground states -- Florida, Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and others -- are likely strong buys.

Naturally, those highly watched TV news networks -- Fox News Network, MSNBC and CNN, as well as many other broadcast TV news programs -- will see a big piece of political messaging -- and perhaps some less obvious places.

Consider: The Biden campaign bought major time on many women-targeted and urban audience TV network programming -- HGTV, Discovery, TV One, BET, TLC, OWN, Lifetime, Bravo, Travel, VH1 and others.

Of course, there will continue to be strong levels of advertising on digital media platforms -- Facebook, Google, Twitter and others.

No doubt many of these buys will scrutinized, given the massive attention in 2016. That’s when eight federal/national security agencies blamed Russia for meddling in the election -- with specific emphasis on social-media advertising manipulation.

Still, who and where are the targets? For the Trump campaign -- which, according to many polls, is lagging behind -- there seems to be a wide range of programs and audience targeting necessary.

To use a sports metaphor: Trump needs to throw a number of Hail Mary passes in the end zone. For Biden -- at this moment anyway -- think ball control, slowly pounding out the ground game, and wearing his opponent down.

1 comment about "Millions Are Earmarked For TV Political Ads - But Where?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 24, 2020 at 12:21 p.m.

    Wayne, I'm puzzled. In your first paragraph you state that Trump holds a "slight" edge in anticipated political TV spending, yet the numbers you cite indicate a huge edge. What gives?

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