According to SNL Kagan’s most recent projections, this year’s TV station political advertising revenue is expected to increase to $2.6 billion, a 68% increase over the 2008 total of $1.6 billion. The swing states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, predictably have emerged as the political battleground for 2012 presidential election spending. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign has outspent President Barack Obama in TV and radio advertising in these states, with well over half a billion dollars already spent with local broadcasters. As the election approaches, political revenue projections will be put to the test as the presidential candidates compete in local markets to close the gap on much-needed electoral votes.
SNL Kagan estimates that 80% of political revenues were generated in the second half of each of the last three election years, with roughly 60% of the total coming in during the fourth quarter alone. If this holds true this year, the top 10 publicly held TV broadcast affiliate groups will see a 57.5% average increase in political revenue over 2008. Total political revenue for these groups would be $625.3 million, a 41.9% increase from $440.5 million in 2008.
An analysis of the these TV station owners in the second quarter by SNL Kagan shows that Journal Communications Inc. should see the highest growth vs. 2008, while E.W. Scripps Co. could realize the second-highest percentage growth in political revenues. Consistent with the second quarter, Gray Television Inc. would lead the pack in total revenues based on these projections. The ever-increasing political spend on local TV stations will lead to even greater disparity between even- and odd-year revenues over time.
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