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BIA Forecasts Radio’s Political Ad Dollars This Year Will Grow 16%, Compared To 2020 Race.

There is an expiration date of Nov. 5 on the billions of campaign contributions being collected right now, and while the ad spending has mostly been hit-or-miss, BIA is forecasting that political advertising will reach record levels this year. Radio may not see the biggest of gains, especially compared to fast-growing media like connected TV, but BIA thinks more dollars are heading to radio stations.

In an updated outlook released Thursday, BIA says over-the-air radio is expected to get $536 million in political ad dollars by Election Day. That is a 16% increase versus what it received during the last presidential election cycle four years ago.

Overall, BIA predicts $11.1 billion will be spent by politicians and their allies. If that proves accurate, it would be a 16% increase over 2020’s $9.6 billion tally. And a 23% jump versus the midyear election spending of $9.0 billion in 2022.

“While local ad spending on digital is growing, traditional advertising is forecast to account for 70.2% of political ad spend in 2024, down from 77.9% in 2020,” says BIA Senior Research Analyst Suzanne Ackley in a blog post.

The repeat winner in the political race is expected to be television. BIA estimates over-the-air TV will collect $4.9 billion in political ad dollars. And when digital television is added into the mix, that total rises to $4.9 billion.

The biggest change in the political forecast in prior years is the spending on connected TV/OTT, which is forecast to move up to fourth place. BIA says some of that is a way for buyers to avoid the “crowd out” they face when trying to secure time on broadcast TV stations. Connected TV/OTT is forecast to grow to $1.0 billion in total spending this cycle, up from just $74 million in 2020. BIA VP of Forecasting & Analysis Nicole Ovadia thinks CTV/OTT will have nearly as much political spending as cable TV this year with down-ballot and smaller races embracing the hyper-targetability of the CTV/OTT medium.

Some of that money is coming out of cable television, as consumer cut the cord at record rates. BIA says cable TV is the only media channel forecast to be down from 2020 in this category, by nearly $183 million to $1.1 billion.

Digital display ads will also receive a large portion of election ad dollars, according to the forecast. BIA predicts $1.3 billion will be spent to reach consumers on their laptops and desktop computers.

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