Milwaukee: Surprisingly light political spending
Donald Trump held back on TV advertising in this swing-state market
October 20, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has avoided spending on traditional advertising for most of his campaign. Now, with the race in the home stretch, he is finally pouring money into a handful of swing states, among them Wisconsin.
Kantar Media says Trump has reserved roughly $600,000 in ad time in Wisconsin over the coming weeks, with a chunk of that heading to the Milwaukee DMA.
Even with the late push, presidential spending in Milwaukee will end lower than expected. The market is healthy even without political spending, though.
“Overall presidential political spending has been much lower than was forecasted, mainly due to limited spending by Trump,” says Jenn Murphy, senior broadcast negotiator at Kelly Scott Madison. “October has seen an increase in spending from both Clinton and Trump, but not to the levels seen in 2008 or 2012.”
Still, she says core TV spending without political is up slightly versus a year ago, with pricing up 5 to 10 percent. Categories driving the market include auto, banking/financial services, education, entertainment, health care, casual dining and legal services.
And there’s been political spending from other areas.
“Down-ticket ballot activity has been very active and has made up for the gap in spending from the presidential candidates,” Murphy says. “Ron Johnson and Russ Feingold are in a tight senate race, and spending has been high from both candidates.”
Many non-political advertisers held back TV spending this fall to avoid what they thought would be a crush of political activity. Those advertisers are geared up to spend significantly after election day, which will keep the market tight and healthy through at least the end of the year.
As for radio in Milwaukee, the situation is similar. Conditions are generally healthy, with news/talk stations tight with political.
Like TV, some advertisers chose to avoid the political period but plan to return to the market post-election.
“Many advertisers appear to have attempted to avoid the election and planned heavier schedules in November and December,” says Murphy. “Holiday advertisers are already in place with very healthy schedules, and inventory will be very tight during these months.”
As always, the morning and afternoon drive times are the tightest and most in demand on Milwaukee radio.
Media buyers have plenty of options in the market, with a good number of stations delivering consistently solid ratings. Fifteen in September posted at least a 2.8 average quarter-hour listener share, according to Nielsen Audio portable people meters.
That said, iHeartMedia classic hits station WRIT-FM is the clear leader in the market. It posted an 8.7 AQH share in September, more than two full points ahead of its closest competitor.
In fact, going back to at least June, no station has been within 2.2 points of WRIT. In July, for example, the station was a full four points ahead of the No. 2 in the market.
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