Election season in the U.S. will mean big business for American local broadcast TV stations, but not thanks just to the presidential campaigns themselves.
According to an article in political publication National Journal, super PACs — those political action committees raising unprecedented sums to support 2016 presidential candidates — are paying broadcast networks as much as 10 times the amount individual candidates’ campaigns are paying for commercial air time. This considering that there are 17 contenders on just the Republican Party side, and each candidate for the primary can count on multiple PACs.
As an example, The Journal pointed to the fact that in January, Iowa state viewers will see commercials for Republican candidate Marco Rubio as they watch The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The campaign is set to pay $150 for each 30-second spot. A super PAC backing Scott Walker, on the other hand, will pay $1,300 for the same amount of time for the same show.
“That’s because of a U.S. federal law that protects campaigns’ ability to talk to voters by guaranteeing them the ‘lowest unit rate’ on TV ads near election time. But those laws contain no such protections for super PACs, which are at the whims of market rates that go sky-high before elections,” reported National Journal.
The Journal also pointed to New Hampshire state in July. A super PAC backing Republican candidate John Kasich paid $5,000 for a spot during the 5 p.m. news on local station WMUR. Chris Christie’s campaign, on the other hand, paid $700 per spot on the same time period. Even though the pro-Kasich ads were double the length, that’s still three and a half times more expensive.
An article in Advertising Age this week pointed to the fact that broadcast TV spending is expected to take the majority of political spending during the 2016 election cycle — with a projected $5.8 billion. After broadcast TV comes cable spending, with $1.1 billion. Digital is third, and expected to break $1 billion.
Political advertising spending is expected to hit $11.4 billion in 2016.
The numbers come from a report from Borrell Associates.
Half of all spending will go to local elections, Ad Age reported.