A recent study shows that in the short time since Barack Obama has been sworn into office, some $270M has been spent pushing one angle or another on the issues of the day, with an annual spend of $1B not out of the question.
The blistering pace is credited to (or blamed on) the severity of the economic problems facing the nation, and the heated political battle that has resulted. However, many different issues have been highlighted, since the economy tends to affect everything.
According to Politico, which was citing a study by the Campaign Media Analysis Group, issues getting a great deal of focus include energy, gas/oil, the environment, global warming, labor issues, general stimulus/budget issues, and health care issues.
Washington DC stations have long benefitted from this category as advertisers hope to reach and influence the low-profile staffers who help those with names that get into the news make policy decision. Also benefitting are cable news programs and the Sunday public affairs shows.
Specific local markets beyond the Beltway tend to come into play when a local politician has a leading role in a given issue such a seat on a key committee; or when a particular issue is of particular interest to local voters.
According to Politico, there has been so much money flowing in the early going of the Obama administration that the scope of the buys have been spreading past the usual suspect DMAs and programs.
RBR/TVBR observation: Unlike campaign ads, which are battleground-driven, issue ads tend to be targeted at one local audience: the politicians, regulators and staffers in Washington DC. But citizens who tend to pay attention to the issues are also in target mix. The stronger your news and public affairs programming, the better your chances of getting a piece of this rapidly expanding pie.