Analyst: Healthcare Could Quickly Turn Into a Billion-Dollar Ad Category

Future ad spend hinges on court decision

Pivotal Research senior analyst Brian Wieser said today that he sees health insurance becoming a huge advertising category in the next year if the Supreme Court upholds President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Currently, health insurers mostly advertise directly to businesses, which can choose to buy policies for their employees. "However," wrote Wieser in a report on the subject, "if the exchanges contemplated by the act take widespread effect, the primary marketing goal for healthcare insurers would likely focus on consumers."

That, of course, would be great news for anyone who owns a television network. If the Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care, Pivotal estimates the value of the category at $2.5 billion; approximately 6 percent of national TV ad spending overall, which Wieser estimates would be more or less evenly distributed across media owners starting in fall 2013. It wouldn't necessarily start with a bang, the Pivotal report cautions—the growth of the category on national TV might not make headlines, but it would still contribute to the ad market.

The Web would also get a large share of the new market, according to the Pivotal data—under $600 million, much of which would go to health sites like WebMD, Yahoo Health, MSN Health and

And if the court doesn't uphold the act? Well, just ask this guy what to do. He's prepared for everything.