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TVB Brings Out the Bulls on Political, Online Ads

Political advertising on television is expected to exceed $1 billion this year on spending for federal, state and local races. Some analysts project the political monies could exceed the record $1.7 billion spent on TV ads in the 2004 election year.

Political advertising consultant Evan Tracey made the projections at the Television Bureau of Advertising’s (TVB's) conference Thursday in New York.  

Broadcast television is expected to get the largest chunk of the dollars. In 2004, TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG notes, only 9% of political and issue ad spending went to non-TV media.

In the first quarter of this year, political advertisers have spent $160 million, with about $100 million going to issue-oriented ads. Locally, the hot spots are Texas, New York, California, Illinois, Tennessee, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island, where more than $57 million was spent, mostly by early primary campaigning.

Also at the TVB on Thursday, Internet advertising analyst Gordon Borrell revealed bullish projections on local online revenue, which hit a record $4.4 billion last year, up 79% from the year before.

The local online market, Borrell says, will continue to flourish, growing to $4.8 billion in 2006.

TV stations doubled their online revenues last year, up from $119 million in 2004 to $283 million in 2005. However, most TV stations still lag behind newspapers and national Web companies, such as Google.  Last year, for example, newspapers earned an estimated $2 billion in online revenues.

To increase audience and revenue share, Borrell says stations need to play up their news assets, video and established community relationships. “TV stations can beat the local newspaper if they have the commitment,” Borrell says. “There is tremendous opportunity in front of us with the Internet. We are where television was in the late 1950s.”