local media insider
Opinion

Time for local media to rethink political advertising from the ground up

Local media have much to gain from political advertising

Alisa Cromer
Posted

When John Dean ran for president, the country was stunned that he raised $1 million in donations in a matter of months. Today, a presidential candidate can raise $6 million in a couple of hours.

Spending on advertising has ballooned from $50 million to an estimated $12 billion in the same time period.

People are also more engaged in voting than ever before. Progressives “woke up” during the war in Iraq, the Tea Party riled the right wing, women stormed to the polls after Trump's election and young people are now determined to find candidates who support gun control. The nation is literally seething with passionate voters.

While the country heads deeper into an existential battle over democracy and truth itself, people still have a favorite radio station and they still trust newspapers.

For these reasons, local media should start treating political vertical as strategically as automotive. There are millions at stake.

Sure, TV takes up about 50% of the revenues. Digital (including Facebook) takes another chunk leaving a measly 7 to 8% for newspapers, magazines and radio stations.  

But when TV sells out -possibly as early as March of next year, according to John Kimball of the John Kimball Group, money will starrt surging into local markets looking for local audiences.

Here’s the math:  A total $840,000,000 million in local ad revenue will be spread between 6,000 radio and newspaper companies, if the experts are correct. This share can be increased since local media have sellers that can add digital products like programmatic and email.

Local media have both sellers on the street, and the ability to sell digital products. Facebook is a powerhouse but it does not have these sellers.

Our recommendation is to assign a political champion now, put your products together and work political as a vertical all year round.

Stop thinking of the political category as an episodic two-year event, and treat is as an ongoing vertical. Assign a political “champion” to work all the political contacts, right down to the dog catcher.

Here are some tips from the experts:

  • Get an early start

  • Assign a champion

  • Buy a political contact list

  • Organize a political media kit

  • Bundle for smaller campaigns

  • Expand the product suite

  • Work the category year round

  • Elevate the overall participation of local news via voting guides and forums.

Get started this summer! If you need help with contacts or other information, send an email at alisa@localmediainsider.com.


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