DemDaily: What is a Media Buy?

August 22nd 2016

An estimated $3+ billion will be spent in advertising or "media buys" for the 2016 Presidential Election (primary & general) - with close to one third of that spent by the campaigns directly, and the remaining by outside groups and superpacs.

Television Ads are the #1 vehicle for delivering a candidate's message and, historically, account for 40 to 60% of a presidential campaign budget. The Clinton and Trump Campaigns have just gone "up on the air" with new commercials and media "buys" in important swing states.

To help our readers better understand the cost and process, we thought it would be useful to explain:

What is a Media Buy?

A "Media Buy" is the purchase of advertising time in a city-based media market. The costs for each market varies significantly according to its industry ranking and the desired timeslot or TV "daypart" (Early AM, Day, Early fringe, Early News, Access, Prime, Late news, Local news, Late fringe).

Click to see interactive Nielsen Ratings map

The top-ten Media Markets are: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, and Houston.

The ranking or cost within a certain media market is determined by viewership statistics and data on which channels people in those areas tend to watch.

Ad buys rely heavily on cost analyses involving gross rating points (GRP's). GRP's are the total of the ratings achieved for ads, along with data on target audience exposure. Usually 100 GRP's means the average TV viewer has seen a commercial one time.

Experts say that the average voter should see a commercial five to seven times in a week for their voting decision to be influenced at all, so a campaign may base their spending on 500 to 700 GRP's per week in targeted vote areas.

Media buying is all about exposing the right target audience to the right message to earn their vote and "buys" are placed by a professional media buyer who works as a consultant or directly for the campaign's media consulting firm.

Click to see Trump's ad, "Two Americas: Immigration"

The Trump Campaign debuted its first general election television ad last week with a $5 million ad buy in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.

Click to see HRC ad, "Just One"

A new Clinton Campaign Ad is also running in Florida, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina and the Omaha market in Nebraska.

The Clinton campaign is expected to spend a total of $80 million on television advertisements in battleground states throughout the fall.

As always, DemList will keep you informed!

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Kimberly Scott
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