An Insane Amount Of Money Is About To Be Spent On Political TV Ads

Advertising has always been a crazy pit into which companies and producers pour money to reach audiences. Election seasons see political campaigns enter the mix, and shocking amounts of funds raised for candidates go to the advertising budgets. For the 2016 Presidential Election, it is estimated that a whopping $4 billion will be spent on television advertising.

Yes, “billion” with a “b.”

Campaigns raise more than $4 billion when it comes to the big presidential race, and the general understanding is that 80% of funds raised go to advertising. Television is certainly not the only form of advertising used by campaigns to sell their candidates, but spot ads on TV remain the preferred medium. Deadline reports that local outlets can expect an 18% increase on the 2012 election season finances with $3.3 billion, network TV will receive an 18% boost from 2012 with $108 million, and cable will get a 32% increase from 2012 with $570 million.

While it may seem strange that local television would be the focus on the majority of the advertising budget, citizens of any swing state will know perfectly well that not all votes are pursued equally when it comes to the electoral college system. Folks of Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the like can always count upon an inundation of political advertising and attention every presidential election season.

Incredibly, the $4 billion may be a modest prediction. The early number pitched by Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker is based on her prediction that campaigns will be able to raise $7.5 billion. More generous estimates guess that closer to $10 billion is even possible. If that is the case, television viewers in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia may well have far more political advertising than ever before during primetime television hours.

Of course, there is still a chunk of cash allotted for print advertising. The funds for direct mail and newspaper ads will drop significantly, but outdoor ads such as billboards and signs will rise. Digital platforms still receive a relatively small piece of the pie, but radio should see an increase.

Still, the combination of all of the other mediums does not even comes close to matching what will be spent on television. Between the races toward nomination that will see candidates within parties vying against one another and the ultimate faceoff between a Democrat and a Republican, the money will likely be put to colorful and creative use. As we still have some time before the election season really gets into swing, we can’t say for sure just yet which campaigns will choose to spend their cash going negative in their advertising strategies on screen.

What we can say is that the advertising is going to hit hard. It’s coming close to that time of year again, and swing states are about the take the brunt of political advertising. Gird your loins, citizens of Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).