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Study: Web Way Behind in Political Spending

Online political spending will total $20 million in 2008, less than one-half of 1% of all political advertising, revealed a new study from Borrell Associates.

Furthermore, that $20 million is hardly a windfall for local television. Borrell estimated that one-half of Web money will be spent on search advertising, going to pure-plays like Google and Yahoo.

Borrell’s 2008 Outlook reported that broadcast television, of course, will grab the lion’s share of the $4.8 billion that it forecast will be spent on political advertising this year. It’s getting nearly 60% of the candidates’ ad money, or $2.9 billion. Following broadcast television were newspapers (17%), radio (10%) and cable TV (5%).

Borrell reported that campaign managers are doubtful about the Web’s role in delivering candidates’ messages.

“The jury is still out regarding the Internet’s effectiveness for reaching and targeting the undecided,” the report read. “There is a fear that their message may end up going to an unintended recipient. Consultants would need to be convinced of the accuracy of this type of direct advertising reaching and persuading the intended targets before they would find sufficient value to devote much money toward it.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.