Need some TV time?

So, you look at the situation and realize that you need to make a short-term TV buy (or up the frequency of an existing buy). To quote one of my favorite cartoon dogs, “Ruh-roh.”

As Dr. Denny notes over at 5th Estate, thanks to an election that’s mounting in importance to both parties, there isn’t any air time to be purchased.

According to a report from Broadcasting & Cable:

[The $1.6 billion] exceeds initial forecasts of $1.4 billion and approaches the $1.61 billion spent in 2004, a presidential-election year. “Candidates may have more money to spend than there is time to buy,” says Evan Tracey, COO of CMAG. [emphasis added]

Wow. Good news for broadcasters, bad news for those who didn’t plan ahead.

Of course, this is only likely to effect smaller, local marketers, but there are possible implications to be considered past the 2006 election cycle:

  • Broadcast outlets have to take the political money, regardless of whatever impact it might have on their customers. This is especially true in an environment where multiple factors are undercutting the value (real and perceived) of traditional media as a marketing tool. It’s always dangerous when you have to say no to those who pay your bills on a regular basis, though.
  • There’s a lesson here for the big national advertisers, too. This is likely nothing compared to the frenzy we’re going to see around the 2008 elections. They might want to think about pushing out their planning and buying even further than usual, because by April of that year there might be no time left. Hard to say at this point, but if I’m in charge of the planning process, I’m going to assume the worst, and then add three months additional lead time on top of that.
  • Finally, if you’ll indulge the social/political/media analyst in me for a second, what might this all mean for the news coverage emanating from the broadcast outlets? Mass media facing eroding credibility as marketing channel – check. Political spending a reliable and lucrative source of income – check. Political controversy drives the urgency to spend – check.



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