Strong Turnout for Ads

National Cable Communications, which handles ad sales for Cox Communications, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, said it has booked $3 million so far in political ads.

That figure represents a “significant early purchase” in the primary season, according to Andrew Capone, NCC’s senior vice president, business development and marketing.

Local ad sales operations have sold just over 120,000 commercials spots, a mixture of 30- and 60-second spots, Capone said.

Local cable systems’ share of the political advertising market has increased significantly in the last six years, he said, citing the growth of cable sales operations and the expansion of insertable networks as reasons why. The typical advertising buy is now across a selection of 15 networks, Capone said.

Nine Democratic and Republican candidates for president have bought time on cable, he said, but added that the NCC couldn’t identify the biggest cable spender among them. (NCC collects the data by category.)

“All [presidential candidates] who have bought local TV have also bought local cable,” he said.

On the national-advertising scene, Nielsen Media Research reported Oct. 18 that, among the ads it measures, 95% of the total 28,725 presidential campaign ads placed so far this year were on local television, with 71% of that total having aired in Iowa. Nielsen Monitor-Plus measures television and radio advertising, not including local spot cable.

According to this report, candidates are spending a small amount on national cable, and Republican candidates have spent more than Democrats.

From Jan. 1 to Oct. 10, candidates for the Democratic nomination had bought just four national cable ads, according to Nielsen. Republicans, during the same period, bought 297 national cable ads.

In the race for the 2008 presidential nomination, Republican Mitt Romney has bought more ads than any two other candidates combined. He placed 10,893 ads during that period; the next closest Republican rival is Rudy Giuliani, with 642 TV and radio spots. The most active Democrat is Bill Richardson, who’s bought 5,975 TV and radio ads, according to Nielsen.

John McCain is the biggest online advertiser, with 4.3 million sponsored link impressions in August, according to Nielsen. Dennis Kucinich is second, with 1.8 million sponsored links.