TV still gets the bulk of political spending during any election cycle. But with an eye toward the growth of digital and cable advertising in the political world, the nation's broadcasters have kicked off a campaign to sell themselves as the most influential.
Television Bureau of Advertising CEO Steve Lanzano said his group will begin to air 15-second spots, first in Washington D.C, then in the early primary states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, then in most other states to remind political consultants and candidates that old-school broadcast ads reach more voters than other media.
"There are a lot of shiny new objects out there, especially digital shiny new objects," that have captivated the attention of political campaigns, but broadcast delivers, Mr. Lanzano said.
With 5 hours a day on average for broadcast TV viewing, "no other media comes close," he said.
TVB has set up a new website, www.WeGetVoters.com, that says Americans trust local news more than cable and that broadcast has a far greater reach than cable nationally and locally.
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association did not have an immediate response.
The new TVB website also say digital ads don't always hit their targets.
Mr. Lanzano cited Kantar Media estimates that between $3.3 billion and $3.6 billion will be spent on local TV ads in the 2016 political season, from the presidential campaigns down to state and local offices.
That will be the lion's share of political ad spending. But cable is expected to be a tough competitor in an election year that is expected to break records as far as ad spending goes.
And Borrell Associates said about $1 billion will be spent on digital media this election cycle. That's a massive increase from the $22 million spent on digital in 2008, the research firm said.
Borrell Associates also said spending on digital ads is expected to continue to explode.
Mr. Lazano said local broadcasters will run the TVB ads for free. He expects the campaign to continue, with increased intensity, until November's Election Day.