TV Predicted to be the Media Winner in 2018 Midterm Election Cycle

Mon Oct 9, 2017

Kathy Crosett

It’s not too early to start thinking about midterm elections. In 2018, Democrats will try to regain electioncontrol of Congress by winning seats, while Republicans will try to hold onto their slim margin of power. A few senators and representatives have already announced their retirement, which means big money will be spent in their districts as candidates fight to win open seats. In other districts, re-election campaigns will drive ad spending. Here’s what the pundits are saying about the next election cycle.

The Cook Political Report keeps a close eye on how many open seats will be available in Congress. Writing for Cook, Steve Passwaiter , Vice President and General Manager at Kantar Media, is predicting ad spending will be heavy in 2018 and that political organizations will direct their spending to local TV.

We can expect 42 seats in the House of Representatives to be “in play.” In the Senate, that number will be nine seats. Then, there are the gubernatorial contests. In 17 states, candidates will be competing to become governor. These contests account for approximately 30% of political ad spending in the local markets. The rest of the spending is driven by candidates running for state representative seats or city positions, and PACS, which are trying to influence public opinion on issues ranging from topics such as legalizing marijuana to tax law changes. Keep in mind that special ballot issues accounted for 15% of total election-related ad spending in 2016 and that figure may increase this year.

Projected ad spending in the largest media categories for the midterm elections may resemble the following:

  • Local broadcast TV $2.4 billion
  • Local cable TV $850 million
  • Digital $600 million (largely going to Facebook)

Start positioning your station as a contender in the upcoming election contests. Ad spending is likely to spike in markets where contests are particularly contentious. Make sure you’re ready to pitch the benefits of your media space to buyers who will be looking to connect with voters as early as next spring.

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About Kathy Crosett

Kathy is the Research Director for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel.

View all posts by Kathy Crosett