Study Identifies Hot Political Markets

Oct 18, 2004  •  Post A Comment

With Colorado’s nine electoral votes possibly being split between the two presidential candidates on Nov. 2, the state has become one of the key advertising targets in the election campaign. In addition, Ohio and Florida are both hotly contested states and as such remain at the center of the TV ad focus, according to a recent study by the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project analyzing data from Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The study found that TV markets in only 10 states accounted for 44 of the top 50 markets for presidential campaign advertising for the two weeks ended Oct. 7. Those states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Colorado will vote on Election Day whether to divvy up electoral votes according to the popular vote.

The study also found that about 87 percent of presidential ads aired in those top 50 markets, which contain only 27 percent of the electorate. However, those are the markets with the most undecided voters. TV viewers in the rest of the country usually only see ads that run nationally or on certain cable networks.

The next round of presidential campaign advertising was expected to come after the last debate on Oct. 13 as decisions are made by candidates about where to target their messages during the last few weeks of the campaign.

The top 10 markets for campaign advertising are Miami; Albuquerque, N.M.; Reno, Nev.; Tampa, Fla.; Green Bay, Wis.; Cleveland; Toledo, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Harrisburg, Pa.

The study found that ads by Democratic challenger John Kerry and his supporters focused on the war in Iraq in about 26 percent of ads, compared with 14 percent for President Bush’s ads. The two sides discussed terrorism nearly equally. Health care is discussed in 62 percent of Kerry ads and about 28 percent of Bush ads.

KCNC Offers Free Airtime for Candidates

In an unusual move for a TV station, Viacom-owned CBS station KCNC-TV in Denver is offering free airtime for politicians. The station said it will feature “major party congressional candidates” and “selected ballot issue representatives” each weekday on the 5 p.m. news throughout this month. In addition, KCNC is offering viewers the chance to chat with the candidates online after the news at its Web site, news4colorado.com. The station also plans to offer a live webcast on election night that will be exclusive for online and separate from the on-air programming.

Granite Broadcasting said earlier this year that it would also provide free airtime in some of its markets to political candidates during this year’s election. That includes stations in New York, California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan that provide senatorial and gubernatorial candidates with two minutes of free air time each week in the six weeks leading up to the election. Granite has offered free airtime since 1998.

TV Stations Settle With ASCAP, Sign 11-Year Deal

Television stations avoided litigation with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) by signing a new long-term agreement with the Television Music License Committee. The 11-year agreement is retroactive to 1998 and covers the performance of ASCAP-licensed music in stations’ analog and digital signals and on their Web sites. Under the new agreement, the blanket license fee will lock in at $85 million annually, down from the interim level of $98.1 million since 1998. ASCAP will also offer a per-program license at a rate that reflects a station’s actual music use, ASCAP said. The litigation has been pending since 1998 and would have set fees for the local TV business. The Television Music License Committee represents more than 1,200 stations in their negotiations with ASCAP and other music rights associations.

WNBC Adds Route Mapping to Web Site

Not wanting to be outdone by Internet mapping services, New York’s NBC-owned flagship station WNBC-TV now offers its own traffic and construction information along with mapping and directions on its Web site. The service comes through Real Traffic software and Westwood One, which provides the traffic information.

The new service, called Navigation 4, is designed to anticipate potential problem areas on a commute and send real-time traffic alerts to a user’s e-mail or BlackBerry. The information is updated every three minutes.

WMAQ Forms Partnership With Crain’s Chicago Business

NBC-owned WMAQ-TV in Chicago has linked up with Crain’s Chicago Business magazine to create an online and on-air presence. The partnership includes a weekly segment called “Crain’s Chicago Business” that started Oct. 10 and previews the top story in the magazine’s Monday edition. Crain’s Chicago Business and TelevisionWeek are both owned by Crain Communications.

On the Move:

Viacom’s South Florida triopoly promoted Michael Colleran to president and general manager, up from VP and general manager. He oversees three stations: CBS station WFOR-TV in Miami, UPN station WBFS-TV in Miami and UPN station WTVX-TV in Palm Beach.