Political ad spend to 'break records'

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NEW YORK -- U.S. political advertising spending will break records next year, with local TV set to benefit the most, ad prognosticators said here Monday.

ZenithOptimedia CEO Steve King projected $2 billion in 2008 political spending, which will inject the U.S. and global ad markets with a key dose of one-time activity only to be outdone by what he estimates will be a $3 billion boost from the Beijing Olympics.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference, King predicted 67% of the spending would flow into local TV, 10% into radio, 8% into cable TV, 5% into newspapers, 4% into outdoor and 3% each into network TV and the Internet.

This will help local TV ad spend swing from a slight decline this year to a 3% gain in 2008, he estimated. At the same conference, Bob Coen, director of forecasting at media agency Universal McCann, Monday predicted political spending will help boost local TV advertising 4% in 2008 to $15 billion, reversing the 3% decline he foresees for 2007.

David Poltrack, chief research officer at CBS Corp., said political advertising next year will "break all the records."

While he acknowledged that the bulk of ad dollars will flow into local TV, he expressed hope that "national could be significant as well."
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