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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Advertising and Marketing arrow Political Television Ad Spending Sets Record
Political Television Ad Spending Sets Record PDF Print E-mail
Written by TNS   
15 Nov 2005

NEW YORK, November 10, 2005 - After some of the most hotly contested "off year" political races in
history, TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG announced that 2005 political and issue advertising on television reached a record $515 million for an “off year” election season. In gubernatorial and mayoral elections from New Jersey and Virginia to New York City and Los Angeles, candidates increasingly turned to television advertising to communicate their messages and gain recognition.
Overall, TV ad expenditures on mayoral races topped $72 million nationally. In New York City, over $44 million was spent on televised political advertisements for the mayoral race. Incumbent Michael
Bloomberg spent a record $30 million to help win this re-election. The combined expenditure of 56
mayoral races across the country, including those in Los Angeles, Detroit, Cleveland, Houston and
Boston, totaled less than Bloomberg’s single campaign. Bloomberg's challenger, Democrat Fernando Ferrer spent $6 million on television ads in his quest for office.

TNS MI/CMAG also reports record TV spending for the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia. In New Jersey, $40 million was spent on TV ads, with Governor-Elect Jon Corzine spending $25 million and Republican Doug Forrester spending $15 million. Both candidates blanketed the airways in the weeks leading up to the election, as polls showed the race had tightened in the final weeks of the campaign. The combined expenditures represented an over 100 percent increase over the last New Jersey gubernatorial race in 2001.

In Virginia, over $16 million was spent on political television ads, with Democrat Timothy Kaine spending $8 million dollars in his winning campaign. Republican Jerry Kilgore also spent $8 million, in his failed attempt for the governorship.

"The political ad 'season' is becoming longer with each election, and candidates are starting their ad
campaigns earlier than ever," said Evan Tracey, Chief Operating Officer of TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, a TNS MI company dedicated to tracking and analyzing political ad spending. "We
are already seeing candidates running for office in 2006 starting to air TV and radio ads, indicating that 2006 is poised for record spending."

In California, all four of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's reform initiatives were defeated by the voters.

In total, over $90 million was spent on television advertisements in the state's five largest media markets, with over $30 million being spent in the last two weeks alone. The groups that opposed the governor's ballot initiatives spent over $63 million on TV ads, while those in support spent an estimated $30 million.

In total, the California special election accounted for almost 20 percent of all political television advertising during the 2005 campaign.

According to TNS MI/CMAG, the common issue that impacted all of the elections was high energy prices.

"After analyzing all of the ads, across all of the campaigns, it is clear that candidates recognize that
energy prices impact all Americans, and voters were eager to hear how the candidates would tackle the issue," continued Tracey.

Federal Issues Account for 30% of Spending
Television advertising expenditures for Federal issues accounted for over $150 million during 2005.
Issues such as social security reform, healthcare related issues and prescription drug coverage, and the Supreme Court nominees were major focuses of significant spending. Over $2 million was spent on TV ads surrounding the Supreme Court nominees. One million dollars was spent on pro-John Roberts TV ads and $613,000 on anti-Roberts ads. While $62,000 was spent on ads endorsing the nomination of Harriet Miers, over $220,000 has already been spent in favor of the recent nomination of Samuel Alito, and that number, along with anti-Alito ads, is expected to greatly increase as confirmation hearings are not scheduled until January 9, 2006.

About TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG
TNSMI/Campaign Media Analysis Group is the leading provider of advertising tracking and analysis of
political, public affairs and issue advocacy advertising. A TNS Media Intelligence company, TNSMI/CMAG provides customized media analysis services to national trade associations, foundations, Fortune 100 companies, national media organizations, academia and hundreds of national, statewide and local political campaigns. For further information, please visit

About TNS Media Intelligence
TNS Media Intelligence is the leading provider of strategic advertising intelligence to advertising agencies, advertisers, and media properties. The company's tracking technologies collect advertising expenditure and occurrence data, as well as select creative executions, for more than 2.2 million brands across 19 media. Established in 23 countries with more than 16,000 customers, TNS MI is part of the TNS Group, ranked #2 worldwide in marketing information and the world’s largest custom research company. The U.S. headquarters are in New York City with sales locations in major markets throughout the United States. Visit
Last Updated ( 15 Nov 2005 )
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