Political advertising goes into high gear this week: Money will be flying and inventory at TV stations will be tight. Three-quarters of the $3 billion expected windfall will be spent in the final seven weeks, Evan Tracey, president of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, told broadcasters at last week’s TVB Forward conference in New York.
Ad spending for this year’s midterm political season is already pacing $160 million above the same period in 2006, and the final tally is likely to best the general election in 2008. “It’s the most competitive political environment I’ve ever seen,” Tracey said.
Just about every media segment will see increases this year, led by local TV, with radio and cable also being up. Digital and social media will also be on the rise, but at a conservative pace.
Campaigning is likely to be negative in the final stretch, when a lot of local campaigns take to the airwaves. Races for the House, Senate and state governors are likely to run more than $5 million per day on average. There could also be a lot of last-minute tactical decisions to move dollars around by Democrat and Republican leadership to support select races and write off others.
National cable could also benefit in the final hours from state or local races when local TV stations are sold out, figuring the waste is worth the needed exposure.