Are Local TV Political Ads No Longer Effective?


The surprise victory of President-Elect Donald Trump sent shock waves across many a media newsroom. But, what about the C-Suite’s sales and accounting teams?

Given the vast amount of money the Hillary Clinton campaign spent on spot TV advertising in a losing effort, are political campaigns poised to drop multi-million advertising plans that use local TV?

Don’t bet on it, TVB says.

That’s because winning campaigns benefit from local TV spots.

The not-for-profit trade association of America’s local broadcast television industry has research firm Morning Consult to thank for the findings.

A newly released Morning Consult poll of 10,000 registered voters in 10 swing states finds that 58% of registered voters in battleground states looked to television as the top influencer of how they voted.

This was higher than all online platforms (including social media), radio, direct mail, newspapers, and billboards.

Furthermore, 57% of registered voters considered voting because of what they saw on television, while 71% became more aware of the candidate or issue because of watching TV.

The research was commissioned by TVB in the battleground states immediately following Election Day.

With reportedly more than $6.8 billion spent on the 2016 election cycle’s advertising for all races (including nearly half on TV), Americans have seen advertisements everywhere from television and online to lawn signs and mailers.

TVB President/CEO Steve Lanzano can benefit from affirmation of previous studies that show TV as the top platform that voters trust and with the largest influence on voting decisions.


Among the other Morning Consult findings:

  • Some 68% of voters across all ages, genders and political affiliations consider local broadcast TV to be the most trusted news source. This compares to 33% of all voters who consider social media trustworthy.


“With so many undecided voters in this election, it’s no wonder campaigns build their strategies with local broadcast TV throughout the campaign and especially in the final weeks, when nearly 30 percent of undecideds make their decision,” Lanzano said. “With television’s extensive reach and influence, it is the only platform that ensures campaigns’ messages are seen and heard during every step of a voter’s decision-making process.”


RBR + TVBR will offer an exclusive interview with Steve Lanzano next week. Be sure to read your morning RBR + TVBR headlines, delivered via e-mail each morning before you start your work day.

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Adam R Jacobson is a veteran radio industry journalist and advertising industry analyst with general, multicultural and Hispanic market expertise. From 1996 to 2006 he served as an editor at Radio & Records.