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Political Ad Spending Ballooning in Final Stretch, As OTT Makes Gains on Share

by | Sep 30, 2022 | BIA, Blog, CTV/OTT, Local Advertising Forecast, Political Advertising

Political advertising for the 2022 cycle has reached $6.15 billion, already eclipsing the 2020 cycle in Non-Presidential spending, and a 56.6% increase over the last mid-term elections in 2018 according to BIA partner, AdImpact.

With less than 100 days from the general election AdImpact’s 2022 Political Projections Spending Report forecasts the total political ad spend in 2022 to reach $9.7 billion which is an increase of almost $700 million over the 2020 spending including Presidential spending.

As it feels like we are all being barraged by political ads, a new study by TVision finds that television viewers are paying more attention to Political ads than other advertising. Clearly the amount of Political spending and the content of the ads are capturing viewers attention.

As this spending increases and the television set is almost overwhelmed with multiple political ads being delivered in each pod, advertisers are finding other ways to complement this medium, especially with OTT to ensure their messages are reaching larger and generally younger audience.

BIA forecasts OTT political advertising to reach almost $83.7 million in the 2022 cycle, an increase of $9.2 million or 12.4% over 2020 spending with the presidential election.

Source: BIA’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast, Issued June 2022

OTT is not the only digital media channel to pull in more dollars in 2022. Digital Newspaper political advertising is forecast to deliver $172.6 million in the 2022 cycle. An increase of $4.7 million over 2020.

The shift to these digital channels are reflective of the audience viewing more OTT, the ability to target audiences with specific messages; older viewers on Newspaper Digital and younger views on OTT. The political media buyers are also becoming more accustomed to OTT’s programmatic buying and measurement. (See recent findings about programmatic buying from our industry interviews.)

This shift towards OTT will really take off in 2023, generally an off political year. With smaller budget for the politicians in these off years, the targetability and lower costs will drive political buyers to place a larger portion of their budgets on OTT.

Total Political ad spending in 2023 is forecast to be down by 97.5%, while OTT Political ad spending is only forecast to decrease by 7.9%. This will result in an increase of OTT’s share of political dollars rising from 1.0% in 2022 to 16.7% in 2023, with OTT having the 2nd highest share of Political dollars in 2023, behind only TV OTA.

Source: BIA’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast, Issued June 2022

Not only does OTT get a bump in spending in a strong political year from the Political ads, but as we approach the election and the political advertising reaches it’s peak, preemptions of other advertisers might further boost OTT and other channels as the core advertisers look for other media channels to spend these preempted dollars.

Local sellers need to be ready to show the benefits of OTT and their other digital advertisers to keep this money in house. Spending some time now explaining the benefits of OTT to political advertisers and other preempted advertisers could set sellers on a path to keep these advertisers interested in new channels and proactively set them up for increased spending in the future utilizing both linear and digital channels.

To keep a close watch on political ad spend this fall, this post is the third in a series we are publishing. Stay tuned for more! Read the previous posts here:

If you are an ADVantage subscriber, log in to view the latest AdImpact political spending data available on your market profile page.