Newspapers Expected to Get Less than 10% of Political Ad Dollars this Year

By: Jennifer Saba

Political advertising spending is forecasted to reach $4.2 billion in 2010 — but newspapers are only expected to get less than 8% of those dollars, according to a new report from Borrell Associates.

Which is not to say that spending overall has subsided. The pickup in political advertising has only gathered strength since the 2000 elections, the authors of the report noted. Last year was relatively quiet on the political front, yet spending outpaced 2000 levels. The recent Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to now spend on politics caused Borrell analysts to bump up its forecast 10%.

Still, while the kitty grows, the way candidates and advocacy groups spend it hasn’t changed at all. The lion’s share of political advertising dollars will be spent on broadcast TV. According to the forecast, broadcast TV is anticipated to capture 63% of political ad dollars, followed by a very distant second cable TV with a 9.1% share.

Expect candidates to rely more on social networking than online advertising, since only 1% or $45 million of political dollars are expected to flow to Internet ads. That’s up 73% from 2008 levels.

There are some findings in the report to which newspapers should pay heed. Borrell analysts noted that newspapers are best positioned to capture dollars from local and state political candidates, forecasting the share at 17% (slightly behind broadcast TV at 22% and cable 18%).

The outlook also found that more small and local businesses will take advantage of the Supreme Court ruling first. “A local construction company may want to back city council candidates who favor more infrastructure projects,” the authors wrote.

Borrell broke out those states that are expected to receive the heaviest amount of spending, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada and Colorado. “Media outlets in area where hotly contested races are foreseen will probably be very happy with this year’s political advertising outcome,” the report said.

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