The Marketing Corner: 2016 Political Landscape

August 9, 2015 Updated: August 12, 2015

It’s no secret that the upcoming 2016 elections are expected to be a heated contest. Typically, election years (especially presidential) are a revenue bonanza for cable and television.

There have been several discussions within the media industry on what to expect this election cycle. It is anticipated that political advertising may start being booked as early as the fourth quarter 2015. Below are some of the significant reasons for this expectation:

  • Expect billions to be spent as the political season begins.
  • There isn’t an incumbent running for President.
  • The Supreme Court ruling in 2010 now allows nonprofit corporations to make political expenditures. The high court also extended their ruling to include for-profit corporations, unions and other groups.
  • Affiliates in local markets may see modest growth. However, the networks (broadcast and cable) are expected to see the lion share of this growth.
  • There are several Republicans vying for the nomination. Many are building significant coffers which could put heightened pressure on the scatter market throughout the summer leading up to the primary. Scatter is a purchasing strategy used by television networks (broadcast and cable) to sell air time at higher cost. It is a method used by the advertising agency or advertiser to gain airtime for a product/service at the last minute.
  • Next year’s Summer Olympic games will increase market pressure on available inventory.
  • There will be an overlap of contest within several states. Expect to see a deluge of dollars that will be inclusive of presidential, senate and governor races.
  • It will behoove small business owners to secure inventory early. It is better to have more than less. You can always opt out with a 60-day cancellation clause.

As inventory availability become tight, even advance ordering doesn’t guarantee your messages will air. After all, some television networks will air units for those who have paid the highest price for the inventory. So, be sure any makegoods due to you are airing within “like” rated programming.

It’s going to be an interesting upcoming year with all the drama and suspense of a made-for-TV movie! While it would be nice to sit idle and watch the show, it is best to safeguard your interests and have contingency plans.

Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant with 20+ years experience, freelance writer and author of “Elements of Buying” (self-help advertising guide), available at Adele was listed as Black Enterprise’s 2011 Top Execs in Marketing & Advertising and Black Enterprise’s 2013 Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing. Contact: