While other ad categories have suffered from tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, one area is expected to grow even faster than planned: political television advertising.
Overall, national advertising spending will be close to $ 14 billion, with television networks accounting for a significant proportion, of the US dollar spent this election cycle, according to a recent S&P analysis. In June 2019, Kantar predicted that this election would attract $ 6 billion via media in political advertising dollars.
The record-breaking political advertising spending, according to the analysis, was fueled by the controversial presidential race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, but was also boosted by high-profile campaigns by the House and Senate.
“Record fundraising means record advertising,” said Steve Passwaiter, vice president and general manager of Kantar’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. “An enormous passion in this year’s cycle produced donors like never before.”
In the run-up to Election Day, some networks were setting record highs in terms of political coverage, largely seen as an opportunity for the linear networks, even if audiences switched their viewing to streaming services.
The S&P analysis did not find an exact breakdown per medium, but both presidential campaigns spent over 40% of their budget on television advertising. Elsewhere, dollars also poured into digital channels, radio and OOH commercials. Online ad platforms, including Google and Facebook, released new political advertising rules this year and refused to accept new election-related ads a week before November 3rd.
The top three markets with the most political advertising were in areas critical to the presidential election: Phoenix, Arizona (where companies like Meredith Corporation, Tegna, Fox Television Stations, and EW Scripps have holdings) and two Florida markets , Orlando. Daytona Beach-Melbourne (Hearst Television, Graham Media Group, Fox and L4 Media Group) and Tampa-St. Petersburg (Nexstar Media Group, Tegna and Fox).
“All the media will be crowing about how well they have done in political ads this year, and that’s a good ointment for the industry when you see what’s going on with ads in general,” Passwaiter said.
In fact, these public television companies have already noted the success they have seen in political advertising in their most recent quarterly results.
Scripps local media promotion for 2020 totaled approximately $ 265 million by election day, beating the $ 196 million forecast earlier this year. Of those dollars, 50% came from political action committees and another 16% from presidential candidates, according to the company’s quarterly results announced this morning.
“Despite the ongoing economic disruption, Scripps posted record sales in political advertising,” said Adam Symson, President and CEO of Scripps.
Meredith also saw advantages from political advertising dollars. “We got off to an encouraging start to fiscal 2021, with national digital advertising growing 15% to a record high and local political spot advertising up 43% over the previous cycle two years ago,” said Tom, President and CEO by Meredith Harty. Overall, the company’s first quarter revenue was $ 694 million Growth in Political Advertising.
Fox, which owns 17 stations, including 9 of the top 10 markets, said it attracted $ 969 million in advertising last quarter. Without saying exactly how much of it was political advertising, chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch said that political advertising on local television networks “will have a record for every election.”