Issue Money on Local TV Double Election Year of ’08
Turn on almost any TV program this month and you’re bound to see at least one message supporting or opposing national health care reform—likely two of each!
The year began with a barrage of ad money going towards messages about energy and environmental issues. But that seems to have been just the warm up to the hundreds of millions of dollars now being spent on influencing public opinion in the health care debate. And it’s spilling over from nationwide network TV to local network TV affiliate spending.
Katherine Ramirez, local sales manager of ABC affiliate KETV-DT, says that issue money spent to date in 2009 on Omaha local TV is running double of last year. “Last year was an election year when besides all the candidate ads you get a large amount of other ad money about issues in the election,” Katherine explains. “We’re running twice the issue money now in an off-election year.”
The smokin’ red hot button in 2009 is national health care reform. Organizations representing either side of the issue are using a good share of their ever growing cash reserve to include issue advertising in individual markets. A favorite spot to place that money is local TV news. The local audiences are big and the credible newscast environment for such a message is ideal.
As annoying as the torrent of messages has become, viewers will not be seeing the issue ads go away anytime soon. “They’ll probably keep hammering on the health care debate up till when the President signs the bill,” says Don Felton general sales manager for the Omaha NBC affiliate WOWT-DT, “and then comes another election year with more political and issue spending in 2010.”
The best advice to local advertisers who run in newscasts and other popular local TV programming is to plan and place ahead, don’t demand the cheapest rate which will easily get your ad bumped out in a pinch, and be flexible on days and times. Both sales managers have said that local stations are committed to help you get equal or better value if by chance your first choice of program is pre-empted.