Political TV Ad Estimates Lowered; Obama Still Outspending McCain

Record political TV advertising is still in the cards for TV outlets as the market moves toward the end of the election cycle. But now it appears that early estimates will mean less widespread gains, and more market-by-market and medium-by-medium results.

For example, TNS Media Intelligence is lowering its 2008 political projections to some $2.5 billion from the $3.0 billion estimate it made earlier in the year. Still, it is a record, by all accounts. As it turns out, bigger states--especially for the Presidential race--are not as competitive as initially believed. This includes New York, Florida, California, New Jersey, and Illinois.

Not only that, but anticipated big media spending categories such as local TV are not turning out so large. Instead, money has gone to network TV, local cable TV and radio, and the like.

The Presidential race has contributed to this, with both candidates spending more on network TV--such as with the 2008 Beijing Olympics--than they have in the past. Currently, it looks like Sen. Barack Obama is repeating his strategy against Sen. John McCain that worked against Sen. Hillary Clinton early in the year: Obama is way out-spending his opponent.



From Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, Obama has outspent McCain by three to one--$20 million in 17 states versus McCain's $7.2 million in 15 states. Big states for Obama include $3 million in Pennsylvania and more than $2 million each in Florida, Michigan and Ohio. McCain has put his dollars mostly into Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

One report suggests that Obama is even spending heavily in non-traditional medium-sized states--Indiana, North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia--all to water down McCain's media coffers by forcing him to show up with TV commercials to remain competitive.

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