TV Stations’ Political Ad Revenue to Soar

TV stations’ political revenue could rise 25 percent above 2006 levels to about $2.5 billion, according to an SNL Kagan study released this week. Radio will also enjoy some added cash, about $560 million.

Political spending for the publicly traded pure-play TV groups will exceed $300 million. In the 16 states with highly contested elections, Sinclair Broadcast Group has the largest footprint. Sinclair operates 24 stations in toss-up states, while Gray TV has 14, Nexstar Broadcasting Group 11, LIN TV 10 and Belo 6.

Network owned-and-operated groups can also expect big windfalls, with CBS and Univision having a footprint most exposed to the tightest races.

Among the radio groups, Cumulus Media has the largest footprint in toss-up states. CBS Radio is also expected to draw heavily from political budgets with 64 percent of its footprint for a total of 50 stations in the hotly contested states of California, Florida, Illinois and Ohio.