2022 Political Ad Revenues Will Remain At Presidential Levels

Is core TV advertising for TV stations even a measure of local TV performance any more?

Perhaps not when projections are that political advertising will continue to see sharply higher revenue gains -- even in non-presidential election years.

AdImpact estimates -- all political advertising -- will see a total of $8.9 billion in 2022, a non-election year. This would be nearly equal to the $9 billion in all political advertising in 2020, the last presidential year. For many, this is an eye-opener.

Think about previous election periods and you will see the big picture -- a political advertising total of $2.6 billion for 2016 (a presidential year) and $4.0 billion for 2018. Here is where TV stations took in the lion’s share, at $2 billion and $3 billion, respectively.

But for 2020 and 2022? It was much higher. Like double -- around $5 billion or so for TV stations, according to AdImpact.



That means nearly 30% -- or around $18 billion in total local TV advertising -- now comes from political messaging. For 2016 and 2018, it was around 10% to 15%.

To be sure, this continued to be an every-other-year bump -- something TV stations executives have become accustomed to over the past few decades.

But in between those years, TV stations can still count on retransmission revenues -- which are projected to maintain those revenue levels near-term.

You might ask -- what about digital media for political advertising? That will also see a spike from just under $1 billion 2018, for example -- to an estimated $1.7 billion (2020) and $1.3 billion (2022).

Perhaps the biggest surprise is connected TV. Where CTV registered little to no appreciable political ad revenue in 2020, it is projected to rocket past all other digital platforms to $1.5 billion in 2022.

But this doesn’t mean local TV stations will be left out of the loop. TV stations over the last few years have built up local CTV advertising sales operations -- to complement and package that increasing prized digital video inventory with TV station’s live, linear TV inventory.

All this complements continued TV station activity to build up news TV content and programming, which targets generally older TV viewers. Should we expect even more higher pharmaceutical, financial, and retirement vacation marketers activity?

The core local TV questions will continue.

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