BIA: Local Political Ad Dollars Largely Skip Radio


Fresh data from BIA Advisory Services released Monday (8/5) show that some $6.55 billion will be spent in local political advertising in 2020.

What media is getting the majority of the ad spend? It isn’t Radio.

In fact, Radio isn’t even forecast to attract more than 5% of the local political advertising budget.

BIA forecasts that over-the-air (OTA) television will earn the majority of the ad spend — 47% — at $3.08 billion.

Online/digital outlets will receive $1.37 billion (21%), while $919 million will be spent on multichannel video programming distributors, or MVPDs (14%).

Roughly $312 million (4.8%) will go to Radio, with the balance set to go to other media.

“It’s going to be a very interesting political year where some very large markets will not see much in political advertising while some small markets will see an extraordinary amount of advertising due to competitive Gubernatorial, Senate and House races along with the Presidential election,” said Dr. Mark Fratrik, Chief Economist and SVP of BIA Advisory Services. “Campaigns will continue to rely on television as a dominant platform for advertising while supplementing with digital advertising across mobile and desktop.”

Further, the amount of political advertising will vary significantly from market to market, based on the size of the market and specifics of local elections.

The three top local political revenue generating markets will be Los Angeles, Phoenix and Philadelphia.

In each market, broadcast TV will receive more than $130 million in advertising, with online/digital ad spend getting over 25% of the total spend. Direct mail, normally a dominant medium in other categories, will only capture a small percentage of market spend in general.

Radio didn’t get a mention from BIA with respect to these three markets, where iHeartRadio and Entercom are dominant players. However, the total political ad dollars going to radio are roughly 1/10 that of TV in L.A.