Political adspend on television will reach $2.9bn in the US this year as competitive races in the midterm elections lead to an uptick in expenditure.

MAGNA Global, a unit of IPG Mediabrands, has forecast that TV ad revenues will increase from $2.4bn in 2014, the most recent non-presidential election year, largely as more seats are considered as being in play, according to Axios.

The Cook Report, a non-partisan organization that assesses campaigns and elections, has suggested that 95 contests for the House of Representatives are “competitive” in the 2018 midterms, up from 68 in 2014.

For the Senate, where expenditure rates can be significant, there are eight battles regarded as a “toss-up” by the Cook Report this year, compared with nine four years ago.

The 2018 competitive group includes a high-profile race in Texas, as Ted Cruz, the incumbent Republican Senator, is facing an unexpectedly tough challenge from Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat.

Another hotly-contested spot in the Senate is in Florida, with sitting Senator Bill Nelson running neck and neck with Rick Scott, the state’s outgoing Governor.

One media trend noted by MAGNA has been the rise of addressable TV advertising, which can be targeted at the household level, and thus holds a clear appeal for political campaigns.

Elaborating on this topic, Michael Beach, CEO of marketing analytics and software company Cross Screen Media, argued addressable television spots could be invaluable in reaching swing voters.

“Roughly 4–8% of adults in battleground districts are persuadable and the improved data/analytics side is allowing us to know who they are,” he told Axios.

For local television broadcasters, political ads also remain a vital source of income. MAGNA forecast that local television ad revenues will increase by 9% on an annual basis in 2018, but would have declined by 4.5% without the electoral bump.

Sourced from Axios; additional content by WARC staff