As election looms, TV spending nears $2B
Spot television alone accounts for $1.65 billion
October 26, 2012
In many local TV markets, political advertising is all but inescapable right now, squeezing out nearly every other category, and it’s going to get even tighter as the Nov. 6 election approaches.
Political ad spending spiked during the first two weeks of October as fund-raising for the two presidential candidates peaked.
Ad spending on spot TV jumped 35.1 percent during that period compared with the previous weeks, while national spot and network TV was up 31.4 percent, according to a new report from Wells Fargo.
Spending on spot TV totaled $429.4 million from Oct. 1 to Oct. 14, or 12.6 percent more than spending during the entire month of September.
Total political spending on spot has reached $1.65 billion this year, and the final weeks leading up to the election are expected to increase that total to more than $2.8 billion, with some markets so saturated with political ads that there’s little else airing.
Total TV spending, including national spot, is $1.84 billion through Oct. 14, with that number expected to climb to $3.37 billion.
Spot will be up 22.3 percent versus the 2010 election cycle, while total TV spending will grow 23.3 percent.
Overall, Wells Fargo predicts that $5.187 billion will be spent on the election, up 14 percent from 2010 and easily smashing that year's record $4.55 billion in spending.
The markets seeing the greatest amount of political dollars continue to include a number of swing states, with cities in Ohio, Florida and Nevada accounting for five of the top 10 biggest political markets.
Both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have focused their efforts of late on Ohio, where Romney began surging in the polls following the first presidential debate earlier this month.
Cleveland/Akron ranks as the No. 3 market in total political dollars, behind Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., cities that are seeing a lot of money from local and state-level races as well as ballot issues. Columbus is 10th.
Las Vegas ranks fourth, with Nevada one of the states Obama has targeted as a key to electoral college victory.
Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota and Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne rank fifth and seventh on the list.
In terms of markets where political makes up the greatest percentage of local ads, Ohio has three cities in the top 14.
Wells Fargo notes that super political action committees have raised $1.11 billion this election cycle, or nearly one-quarter of all fund-raising.
Roughly 22 percent of all fund-raising, or $1.05 billion, has gone to the presidential campaigns.
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