Millions of dollars have been spent this year on political campaigns, pushing local advertisers off the air. As TV stations rake in huge profits, selling ad time for sometimes as much as 10X the normal rate, what impact does this have on local economies?
For years, advertisers avoided the last few weeks prior to elections due to clutter and pre-emptions. But this year the avalanche of political advertising started in May in Ohio and other swing states.
Many local companies rely on local TV campaigns to drive business. Car dealers, credit unions, and local retailers have all seen their ad campaigns decimated by political campaigns driving up rates and devouring inventory as their sales dropped.
Who really profits from all these political ads? Not the local economy. Very few TV stations are locally owned. Most are now part of major corporations with headquarters far from the markets where the stations are located.
Not the local advertising community. Most campaigns are run and time is placed by out market consultants in DC or Virginia.
The negative ads are at an all time high. Constant reminders of the fragile economy have frightened many would be consumers into lethargy. When people are frightened, they don't spend money. Many have postponed major purchases such as new cars until after the elections.
In the next few weeks, the ads will be running back to back, with few local companies on the air. This would be a good time to use your DVR, but won't help local business.
Maybe we should take a tip from the other companies and limit political advertising. Does it really take someone seven months to decide who they are voting for? How do you feel about all the money spent on political campaigns?