We Haven’t Even Begun To Experience Political Ad Fatigue Yet.
Already sick of the political ads, news stories, and commentary? You do realize it has barely even started, right? As both a media buyer and a consumer, I have never dreaded a political season as much as I dread the 2016 election. There have already been seven times more political ads in the 2016 election than at this point in the 2012 election, according to Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president at Kantar’s Campaign Media and Analysis Group. With more than $423 million having already been raised by the candidates, it is only going to get worse.
For media buyers, the political season will be a mixture of good and bad news. Ratings for news programming will more than likely increase due to the attention level from consumers. Viewership for the second Republican presidential debate topped 23.1 million on TV and more than 4.5 million watched via video streaming. The first debate in August had 24 million viewers (with 6.1 tuning in for the earlier, “undercard” debate). Because Fox’s server crashed, the potential online viewership is unknown. With more than 15 televised debates left, there is a lot of potential for viewership – at a high premium of course.
The downside for media buyers is going to be increased rates for this type of news and prime programming and lack of spot availability. Spots during last week’s election coverage on CNN cost more than $200,000 per spot, when prime time spots typically cost $5,000 for this network. The 45 days before primary elections and 60 days before the November general election are going to be insane with political ads. These ads receive preference, so the only way to run non-political advertising on broadcast (especially TV) is to have your schedules placed VERY FAR in advance.
Below is a look at all of the TV ad spending. (Caveat: Given that Super PACs and outside groups have to pay more for TV ads than actual campaigns, money spent isn’t a perfect metric. But it gives you a good idea of who is on the air and where.)
Total TV ad spending (as of Sept. 1, 2015)
Team Kasich: $3.882 million (all in NH)
Team Rubio: $2.6 million (all on national cable)
Team Clinton: $2.504 million (in IA, NH)
Team Jindal: $1.6 million (all in IA)
Team Christie: $1.745 million (all in NH)
Team Perry: $1.4 million (all in IA)
Team Paul: $470K (in IA, NH)
Team Pataki: $314K (in NH)
Team Carson: $322K (in IA, NH)
Personally, I cannot see an “upside” at all for consumers. With the exception of those who are taking great delight in Trump’s campaign, people are already sick of political advertising, and it has barely started!