If it seems like you can't escape political advertising while watching the Major League Baseball playoffs or the latest episode of "Duck Dynasty," there's a pretty good reason for that. It's because $1 of every $5 spent on cable TV advertising in September was spent on political ads -- at least according to in-house data from Viamedia, which bills itself as the "leading independent cable advertising representation firm" in the country.
That's right. In a country that loves to advertise and sell everything, those insurance, beer and car commercials have nothing on political ads right now. And it's getting worse/better depending on where you come down on a plethora of political ads. That 20.5 percent share in September was actually up significantly from just four years ago, when 13 percent of Viamedia's advertising revenues were political. And the gap between 2010 and 2014 has gotten bigger each of the past four months.
Bring on October.
The influx of political ads is, of course, particularly acute in the markets in which there are several competitive races. In Little Rock, Ark., for example, a whopping 60 percent of Viamedia's cable ad revenue is from political ads.
What gives? Well, there's no question the easing of campaign finance restrictions has continued to open the door to more money in politics. And ads are a huge chunk of political spending.
Secondly, Viamedia speculates that advances in technology increasingly allow cable to deliver ads to a more narrowly tailored audience. The more campaigns can do that, the more they go with cable over broadcast as a more cost-efficient way to target messages.
"Big data has not only revolutionized cable TV advertising generally, but also an explosion of geo-targeted political TV advertising specifically," Viamedia president and CEO Mark Lieberman said.
And targeted they are. In fact, just 16 channels comprise 92 percent of Viamedia's political ad revenue.
Here's a look at the channels bearing the fruits of this onslaught. No surprise on the first three, but how about TV Land?
So if you want to escape those political ads, at least you now know which channels not to watch.