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Radio Poised to Make Election Money Gains

New forecast from Borrell Associates

The political campaign season is now nearly endless, rather than being limited to seasonal short segments of time.

In 2014 alone, there are some 30,000 elections nationwide injecting what Borrell Associates believes will be $8.3 billion into the advertising ecosystem. Close to two-thirds of that money will be spent between July 1 and Election Day.

Radio will see some $485.3 million in political ad dollars in the 2014 campaigns, a drop in share at 5.8% from the 6.5%, or $463.9 million spent on the medium in 2010, according to Borrell. However, the firm predicts radio will rebound in 2016 with $1,088 billion or 8.8% of the political ad dollars.

TV and cable still get the bulk of political ad dollars, however broadcast TV “will see definite, continuing loss of share” as “the impacts of shifts to cable and online will become apparent,” according to principal report author company EVP Kip Cassino. Because of the changing media habits of the American voter, it’s “no longer a question of if other media choices will eventually surpass broadcast TV for political ad share,” but of when.

Borrell believes broadcast television will garner $4,596.2 billion in political ad dollars in 2014, or 55.4% of the pie; that’s compared to the $4,121.9 billion estimate, or 57.5%, in 2010.

Cable is growing with a forecast of $719.3 million for 2014, or 8.7% — compared to an estimated $492.7 million or 6.9% in 2010.

Digital is also growing but at $271.2 million for 2014, still makes up only 3.3% of the total pie. Online spending was estimated at $14.1 million in 2010, at 0.2% of the total political ad spending dollars.

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