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2023 Political Ad Spend Forecast Up $100M+ over 2021

by | Oct 26, 2023 | BIA, Blog, Broadcast, Local Advertising Forecast, Political Advertising

There’s just over a week to go until the 2023 election (and early voting is well underway in many places). Being an odd year there are no National elections, but there are some key races where advertising money is being spent. Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi are holding gubernatorial elections, as well as other State Executive positions. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are holding state Supreme Court elections. Legislative elections will be held for both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature, the Mississippi Legislature, the New Jersey Legislature, and the Virginia General Assembly. Issues are driving 2023 political ad spend in most markets. Issues in 2023 center around healthcare (including abortion rights), clean energy, gun control, fundraising, and the economy.

In BIA’s recently released Local Ad Forecast, we forecast political spend of $516 million in 2023, an increase of $105.8 million over 2021. The 2023 forecast of $516 million is up $261.7 million over 2019, which was the last odd year before the 2020 Presidential and national elections. However, this $516 million figure is down from BIA’s summer forecast of $534 million as the Republican primaries haven’t been as contested as analysts thought they would be earlier this year and the broadcasting groups we’ve spoken to have said 2023 political is lighter than first expected.

Local over-the-air TV (TV OTA) is forecast to garner the biggest share, 42.9% ($221.6 million), an increase of $58 million over 2021. Digital media channels combined* are forecast to garner 22.8% of local political ad spend in 2023 ($117.8 million). Two other major traditional channels, Cable TV and Radio OTA, will receive 13.0 percent and 5.5 percent respectively. Direct Mail is forecast to receive a 9.3% share, but that’s down from a 10.1% share in 2021 and a 22.8% share in 2019.

So which markets are going to see the most political local ad spend in 2023? The list hasn’t changed from BIA’s summer forecast release. The two largest markets, Los Angeles and New York, are at the top of the list. But coming in third for total Political local ad spend in 2023 is market number 65 – Tucson, Arizona. Rounding out the top 5 are Detroit, Michigan (14) and San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California (10).

In all five markets, TV OTA is forecast to get the biggest share of wallet, just as it is nationwide. In Tucson, TV OTA is forecasted to get a whopping sixty-two cents out of every dollar spent on political advertising in the market in 2023. But in New York City it’s a different story. In the NYC market, TV OTA accounts for 28 percent of political local ad spend, which is only a few percentage points above digital media’s share of wallet (25%).

Get more from BIA’s political forecast in the recently published Local Market Political Ad Spend Report 2023-2024, which details political local ad spend in all 210 TV markets for key media in 2023 and 2024. The report is now available for purchase in our shop. BIA ADVantage clients can now login and download the report in the Reports & Webinars section.

*Digital channels include Digital Directories, E-Mail, Magazines Digital, Mobile, Newspaper Digital, PC/Laptop, Radio Digital, Television Digital, TV Over-the-Top (TV OTT). Other traditional channels include Print Directories, Print Magazines, Print Newspapers, and Out-of-Home (OOH).