Borrell & Associates has updated its political revenue projections for the 2018 mid-term elections which are about to start kicking into gear. Borrell puts the new forecast at $8.9 billion, an increase of $400 million over its previous projection in December of 2017. Radio executives have said they expect the majority of their political advertising to come in during Q3 and Q4. So how much does Borrell expect Radio to pull in?
The Borrell update states that the beneficiaries of the additional revenue will reside downstream, at a more local level. “There are more dollars flowing to races below the state level than we initially anticipated. That will principally benefit local media, including TV, radio, newspapers, and cable, which are best connected with local and regional communities.
Broadcast TV continues to hold the lion’s share of political advertising, by far. Its $3.5 billion represents 39% of all spending. Combined with cable advertising ($1.1 billion, or 12.5%), we could say that TV commercials comprise half of all political advertising. The next-highest share goes to digital media, $1.8 billion, or 20%.”
Radio, while still a small piece of the overall pie, has been making gains, according to the new Borrell report. “Radio’s gains since 2014 are due to better funding for campaigns running below the state level. Once largely ignored by parties and consultants alike, the realization has dawned that these elections determine control of state Houses and major communities. They decide issues important on national as well as local levels and develop the politicians who will one day contend for national offices. So, politicians who once worried only about where to place their signs now vie for radio time. Their spending has increased radio’s projected political ad share to almost $689 million, more than 11% higher than 2014 levels. Whether stations can maintain their political share in the face of digital competition remains and open question. Pandora and other alternatives continue to chip away at radio’s share as well, and podcasting, though quite small as an advertising medium, offers another threat.”