A presidential election generally means ad time is harder to come by, both on the national and local level. Local media outlets -- TV, radio and newspapers -- had been banking on an ad windfall this year as the campaign heated up. But it just hasn't materialized, according to a story today in Adweek.
The big media story earlier in the campaign cycle was all the free media that the candidates, especially Donald Trump, were able to garner. Ad forecasters predicted the political media buys would ratchet up once Trump became the Republican nominee and had access to GOP campaign funds. (And don't forget, he's the guy who said he'd fund his campaign out of his own pocket.)
The Democrats are spending for ads, nationally and in key states. But the Trump campaign has been miserly in its ad spending, both nationally and locally. It's causing some distress in local markets that had been counting on political ads, especially for media that held back some time availabilities in their inventory, expecting the last-minute demand for political spots. It hasn't happened.
About $2.8 billion has been spent in local media for political ads -- not just for the presidential candidates, but for local races as well. But that figure is about 15 percent below what the forecasts had been. The Republican presidential campaign this year is actually spending a bit less than the McCain and Romney campaigns spent four and eight years ago.
Adweek cites experts who say spending by presidential candidates generally accounts for about 30 percent of total political ad buys, with the bulk going to support Congressional, gubernatorial and local races.
To keep it in perspective, the $2.8 billion represents less than 10 percent of total local ad spending, which is pegged at about $30 billion. But local media must be giving prayers of thanksgiving for their neighborhood car dealers, reliably buying time and space to push new cars off the lot.