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Political TV Ad Spending Sets Record

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Politicians and outside political groups made their own contributions to the economic recovery –- by purchasing billions of dollars in air time on local television in the run-up to the midterm elections. On Friday, the Nielson Company released numbers which showed that October was the busiest month in history for political ads on TV.

Television stations hit American viewers with 1.48 million political ads, said Nielson, up from the 1.41 million political ads aired in October 2008.

In Ohio, where Democrats and Republicans went toe-to-toe in a tough election environment this year, viewers faced a deluge of political ads. Cleveland saw the brunt of it, with the state capital, Columbus, coming in a close second. Nielson found about one out of every four paid TV ads aired on local stations in October in both cities was from a political candidate or an outside political group.

Politicians and third party groups spent an estimated $564 million in Ohio, according to the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute in this election, driving up the demand, and the prices, for local TV advertising.

Tony D'Angelo, director of sales at ABC 6 and Fox 28 in Columbus, Ohio, said politicians and outside groups are just like any other business trying to sell a product.

"They're Christmas is Election Day," said D'Angelo, "and someone either buys their toy or they don't."

Borrell Associates, a research firm, predicted TV ad spending nationwide will reach $4.2 billion in this election. And Kantar, a media consultant group, said spending will top $3 billion.

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