Political Ads on Local Broadcast to Hit $3.2B: Kantar

Political advertising spending on local broadcast is expected to rise 12.3% to $3.2 billion, according to a new forecast from Kantar/CMAG.

Spending on local cable TV by political campaigns is forecast to jump 41% to $1.2 billion, said Kantar/GMAG VP and general manager Steve Passwaiter. Cable will get a boost from what looks to be a large number of competitive House races.

Paid digital spending will double to $1.2 billion, according to the forecast, with Facebook and Google swallowing about 60% of digital budgets.

During the 2018 mid-term elections, $3 billion was spent on local broadcast TV, $1.2 billion on local cable and $1 billion in digital

“Watch for spending on over-the-top and CTV,” Passwaiter said. He noted that agencies are thrilled with the new platform but scale issues remain. He added that its unclear which budge campaigns would use if the put money into OTT.

Right now, Facebook seems to be the first place where candidates are putting ads. Political ad spending on Facebook so far this year is $34 million, which is ahead of the pace set in 2015. By the end of 2015, $140 million had been spent by campaigns on Facebook.

Among Presidential candidates, the incumbent is the biggest spender on Facebook at about $14 million..

So far the biggest spenders on TV are Tom Steyer, $19 million, and Elizabeth Warren, $3.3 million. Most of the spending is occurring in Iowa so far.

There are some factors that will affect political spending totals, according to Passwaiter. After winning the nomination in unconventional fashion, the Trump campaign is expected to spend, but the question is where.

It remains to be seen how competitive local statewide races will be in Texas, Georgia and Montana.

And what will be the impact of impeachment, he wondered.

Passwaiter delivered his forecast at the TVB’s conference in New York.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.