US Campaign Ad Growth for Cable and Satellite

19 August 2004

In the run-up to November's US presidential election, cable and satellite companies have apparently got what it takes to grab the third-largest slice of campaign ads – ahead of newspapers.

A study by independent market research firm PQ Media shows cable and satellite will receive 2.9% of the $2.7 billion (€2.2bn; £1.5bn) total expenditure on election advertising this year, with newspapers taking 2.1%.

Although the advertising is still dominated by television and radio broadcasts – respectively receiving 56.1% and 7% – the hard work of the cable and satellite companies has paid off as their portion of political adspend increased from 1.6% in 2000, while TV market share remains static and radio has fallen from 10.6%.

According to PQ Media president Patrick Quinn, this reflects an 'important trend' and one that "follows a multiyear effort by cable operators to buy and swap systems to dominate regions" and "become much stronger in reaching niche audiences."

This year's close-run campaign also sees a move toward high-tech advertising since the last presidential campaign of 2000, with internet political adspend up from 0.1% to 0.9% whereas traditional billboard spending has slumped from 1.1% to 0.7%.

The intensity of the presidential battle is matched by the hike in overall political advertising expenditure, up by 123% as ads were bought earlier than usual and more money is being spent on targeting Hispanic and African-American voters – up to $75m from $6m in 2000.

Data sourced from: USA Today; additional content by WARC staff