The FCC’s Media Bureau tosses two complaints alleging inadequate sponsorship IDs — but that may not be good news in the long run because the bureau provided little if any useful guidance for broadcasters, but considerable encouragement for complainants. As a result, we can expect to see more such complaints rolling in.
Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker agrees with the consensus view that 2014 political ad spending will be down vs 2012, which included the presidential race, but up from 2010, the last mid-term election campaign. But she says she expects about $1.5 billion to be spent on public policy and issue ads, up from $1 billion in 2010. That will be “the big positive swing factor here,” with about a third of that money likely used to debate the Affordable Care Act, likely to be an issue in at least 15 states.
Many broadcasters have been running the NAB spots on the Future of Television. Given that these spots could be arguably be seen as addressing federal issues, to be safe, they should be identified as issue ads in stations’ public inspection files, and appropriate information about those spots should be placed in the files.
Although there will not be many ads attacking candidates next year, third parties inspired by their recent election experience can, and perhaps many will, continue to do “issue advertising” outside election seasons. Legally, stations have far more flexibility in handling third-party ads than candidate ads, but also far more potential exposure to liability for the ads’ content. Here’s what stations need to know.