Historically, 60 to 65 percent of political ad dollars are spent between Labor Day and Election Day. With spending in the billions, that's a lot of money to plan and place within a roughly two-month period.
This year the stakes are even higher, as an atypical year for political advertising is unfolding, reflective of the current atypical nature of American politics. Needless to say, emotions are running high, and so are political dollars, with total political spending projected to top $5 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. To put this figure in perspective, here's what we've been seeing at FreeWheel Advertisers, a Comcast company:
• Political media spending from May through October of this year is 15 percent higher than during the same period in 2016.
• Political media spend currently booked through Election Day in this midterm election year has already surpassed total 2016 political spending, which was when the last presidential election cycle took place.
What's even more interesting than the uptick in overall spending is the distribution of that spend. This is where political advertising serves as a portent of overall trends that are happening now—as well as those that are about to take off—in the larger TV ecosystem.