Will Political Ad Spend Remain High For Linear TV?

The U.S. stock market is seeing rapid declines. War is raging in the Ukraine, with the possibility of expansion to other parts of Europe.

And some specific U.S. advertising channels are suffering.

But for local TV stations, we have the midterm elections starting up -- with the prospect of pulling more record hauls than they did during a similar period four years ago.

Kantar estimates that local linear TV could take in $5.5 billion from political advertising in 2022 -- up from $4.5 billion in 2018.

Not to be outdone, political advertisers will also grow on digital media platforms.

This potential political advertising spending may just be some dessert to complement overall weakening in the long-lasting meals.

When including all media platforms -- local broadcast, local cable/satellite, radio, digital and OTT -- Kantar's latest estimate projects that political advertising could total $8.0 billion this year -- up from $7.8 billion in an August 2021 projection.



Those earlier estimates put broadcast TV at $3.8 billion (vs. $3.05 billion in 2018), and cable TV/satellite TV at $1.4 billion ($1.2 billion), digital (FB/Google) at $1.2 billion ($900 million), radio at $215 million and OTT/CTV, $1.2 billion.

Viamedia, an independent cross-media local advertising company, last week said first-quarter 2022 midterm political advertising is already up 42% in the markets it covers versus the first quarter of 2018 across all political categories -- including House, Senate, gubernatorial, local races and issues -- looking at Viamedia's footprint across the country.

Big gains have already come to North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, California, and Ohio.

Perhaps there will be an even better picture for local TV stations when they look to punch up streaming and other OTT platforms -- those locally derived streaming channels, or new digital ad-selling business that package linear local TV advertising time with locally targeted OTT apps.

But this could gloss over the bigger picture when it comes to “core” local TV station ad revenues. Seemingly easy ad money politics -- which continues to grow and hit new records -- can seem like a false measure of local TV advertising health.

This all leads to the question of what the new NextGen (ATSC 3.0) standard -- full of digital media like “business outcome” promise, interactivity and all the rest -- could mean for TV stations, especially for digital-first advertisers.

But not so fast. Viewers need to buy ATSC 3.0-capable TV sets or set-top boxes that connect to the new stand.

More near term, we wonder whether political advertising on local TV stations will still be something to hang your hat on while we wait for TV stations and viewers to get on the same new TV standard wavelength.

2 comments about "Will Political Ad Spend Remain High For Linear TV?".
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  1. Michael Giuseffi from American Media Inc, May 3, 2022 at 2:26 p.m.

    Well with the Supreme Court poised to reverse Roe V Wade in the most sweeping removal of rights in American history I will predict that political ad spending will be unprecedented.  

  2. Roy Moskowitz from Reciprocal Results, May 3, 2022 at 3:05 p.m.

    Congressional and down ballot candiates should not run broadcast in DMAs with multiple political districts, such NY.  All NY DMA Congressional districts compose three percent or less of the NY Broadcast audience. The utility of spot cable depends on the individual cable system and political district.  In a world where political advertisers can target voters individually with online and mobile, including repurposing commercials for digital and social video,  why pay for 97 percent waste.   I wrote an article for Campaigns and Elections about this and was interviewed by the media outlet as well.

    The Emarketing Association also interviewed me for their podcast concerning this and other subjects.

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