With Labor Day now in the rearview mirror, the 2020 election has entered its final phase. This year the presidential race will come down to eight states, according to experts, a list that includes Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. With the margin expected to be narrow, each campaign isn’t taking anything for granted this year and that is likely to be a boost for Spanish-language stations that were all but left out of media plans four years ago.
Steve Passwaiter, VP/GM at Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, said 2016 was an “awful” year for Hispanic media companies, who were distressed by how little ad dollars they received. During that presidential race, then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton allocated little to the segment while then-Republican nominee Donald Trump spent little on media overall. Much has changed in 2020, especially with two states that have large Hispanic populations – Arizona and Florida – on the list of locales where the battle is most heated.
“Trump is competing rather fervently for the Hispanic audience,” said Passwaiter. That means more money for Spanish-language radio. “Trump is pushing hard on Spanish-language media, no question about it. He’s doing a fair amount of it as he’s really trying to compete for that audience,” said Passwaiter. Because the Trump campaign is allocating dollars to the Hispanic segment, so is Joe Biden’s campaign, Passwaiter said, and that is good for Spanish-language media.
Even as the President’s reelection team tightened its belt on ad spending in recent weeks, the campaign last week made a six-figure Spanish-language ad buy in the Miami, Tampa and Orlando markets that will talk about the economic success that has occurred during the past four years. That includes a drop in the Hispanic unemployment rate to a record low pre-pandemic.
Trump received 28% of the Hispanic vote in 2016 and if he increases to 35% to 40%, experts predict he’ll be reelected.
July Went ‘Through The Roof’
“We are expecting a very heavy and a very active political for the rest of the year,” Spanish Broadcasting System COO Albert Rodriguez said. “In July it just went through the roof – and typically after Labor Day is when you see everything go full force,” he told analysts last week. Rodriguez confirmed the Trump and Biden campaigns are already buying SBS ad time. “We expect political to be a vibrant, very active season,” he predicted.
The competitive primary races resulted in first quarter delivering more political ads to SBS than during the second quarter. And thanks to a team that is in constant contact with Capitol Hill, the Miami-based company is also booking House and Senate ad dollars.
Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group estimates radio will receive $500 million in political advertising. The pace of spending also led BIA Advisory Services to raise its political outlook for local radio to $400 million.
At Univision Radio, political and advocacy revenue was a bright spot during the second quarter when the pandemic was impacting other segments. It reported $4.4 million in political revenue during the quarter. That was twice as much as a year earlier.
“We expect to set a record for Univision,” CEO Vince Sadusky told analysts last month. “A multi-year initiative we’ve had to really tell our story about the importance of the Hispanic community, the Hispanic vote, and the sheer numbers of U.S. Hispanics in the population in the States. So we are feeling very good about political.”