FCC Admonishes More Stations Over Political Ads

The FCC has rebuked Meredith’s WPCH Atlanta and Georgia Television’s WSB-TV Atlanta for failing to include “certain requests to purchase political ad time” for non-candidate issue ads in their public files. The admonishment, which is a black mark that goes on their permanent records, resolves a half-dozen complaints filed by Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center dating from August 2017.

Political Ads Tricky To Define In Digital Era

Political ads have become a flashpoint ahead of the 2020 election, in part because new technologies make it nearly impossible to apply a universal definition of them to all advertising channels.

Michael Bloomberg Makes ‘Massive’ Ad Buy

In the latest sign Michael Bloomberg is prepared spend freely on a prospective presidential bid, the billionaire has begun booking a huge quantity of TV ad time in media markets across the country — including the one that’s home to President Donald Trump’s winter White House, Mar-a-Lago. One analyst said it looks to be at least $10 million for one week.

Campaigns Press Facebook On Political Ads

When Google said it would limit the ability of political advertisers to target voters, campaigns said they did not want Facebook to follow.

Hearst Television Appoints Political Ad Director

Industry veteran Gerry McGavick adds the new role to his existing duties overseeing ad sales at the group’s WMUR Manchester, N.H.

Facebook Ponders Limits On Campaign Ads

Facebook is considering restricting politicians’ ability to use highly detailed demographic and personal information to narrowly target would-be voters with ads, policy chief Nick Clegg confirmed Thursday in an interview with Politico — in a possible shift in the social network’s broadly permissive policy on political advertising.

Twitter Shakes Up Fight Over Political Ads

The company earned a wave of praise from Democrats over its move, announced Wednesday, but faced harsh criticism from many on the right, who questioned if it amounted to censorship.

Trump’s World Series Ad An Expensive Pitch

The swaggering TV spot, complete with an image of Trump presiding over the weekend raid that killed the Islamic State’s leader, underscores the Republican incumbent’s financial advantage over the Democrats vying to replace him. It is highly unusual for a presidential incumbent to make a national ad buy so far out from the election and offers a stark contrast to Trump’s possible Democratic foes.


Kara Swisher: Your Move, Facebook

Twitter will no longer allow political advertising, a move that places Twitter and Jack Dorsey in stark contrast to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook, Free Speech And Political Ads

A number of Facebook’s recent decisions have fueled a criticism that continues to follow the company, including the decision not to fact-check political advertising and the inclusion of Breitbart News in the company’s new “trusted sources” News tab. These controversies were stoked even further by Mark Zuckerberg’s speech at Georgetown University last week, where he tried—mostly unsuccessfully—to portray Facebook as a defender of free speech. Discussing all this are Alex Stamos, former chief technology officer of Facebook, veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher, Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain, and Stanford researcher Kate Klonick.

Twitter Bans All Political Advertisements

The social media service’s CEO Jack Dorsey says: “While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.”

FCC ‘Clarifies’ Political Public File Rules

The FCC last week released two decisions addressing complaints from public interest groups against several TV stations alleging that the stations had not sufficiently disclosed in their online public files sufficient information about political issue advertising.  These decisions will end up making life significantly more difficult for broadcasters running ads from non-candidate groups.

Warren Targets Facebook’s Ad Policy

A fresh series of Facebook ads this week by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren seeks to put the social media giant on the defensive — by telling a lie.
The ads, which began running widely on Thursday, start with a bold but obvious falsehood: That Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have endorsed President Trump’s reelection campaign.

Anti-Trump Group Launches $1M Ad Campaign

The Democratic-aligned digital group ACRONYM is launching a $1 million ad campaign in five swing states focused on impeaching President Donald Trump, answering a barrage of ads from Trump and allies condemning Democrats over the impeachment push. The digital ads from ACRONYM will appear in Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

YouTube Ups Fight For Campaign Ad Dollars

YouTube is stepping up efforts to snag political ads from local TV and Facebook and letting buyers book slots through the end of February, when voting for the presidential nominations will begin in Iowa, New Hampshire and elsewhere.

CNN Rejects Trump Campaign Commercial

The 30-second ad puts forth the president’s view of the impeachment inquiry, relying on assertions that the network called “demonstrably false.”

Sanders Buying $1.3M Of TV Time In Iowa

Bernie Sanders released his first paid TV ad of the 2020 presidential campaign Tuesday (Oct. 1) and the campaign said it would be spending $1.3 million on TV buys in Iowa, home of the important Iowa Caucus, for the spot.


Ohio May Be Left Out Of 2020 Presidential Spend

Political advertising maven Steve Passwaiter says Ohio may no longer be among the battleground states where the presidential election will be heavily contested so will not draw a lot of presidential advertising. On the other hand, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin have emerged as new battlegrounds. In any event, there will be enough spending at all political levels to make most broadcasters happy — $3.2 billion, up 12% from 2016.

Anti-AOC Ad Draws A Backlash

A Republican political action committee paid for the provocative advertisement that showed a photo of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bursting into flames, which aired during the Democratic primary debate on Thursday night.

AOC Blasts ABC And Sinclair Over Ad

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized ABC and Sinclair for a GOP group’s ad that ran during last night’s Democratic debate in which her picture is shown set on fire. The ad, which ran in cities like New York and Washington, came from the New Faces GOP PAC, which is led by Elizabeth Heng, who last year sought to unseat Democrat Jim Costa in a California House district.


Sinclair ABC Affil Airs Anti-Ocasio-Cortez Ad

An inflammatory political attack ad targeting congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aired Thursday on WJLA Washington, an ABC affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group during the third Democratic debate.

Facebook Tightens Rules For Political Ads

Gearing up for the 2020 presidential election, Facebook is rolling out stricter rules for political advertisers. As part of the push, the tech titan plans to strengthen the authorization process for ad buyers, show users more information about individual advertisers, and update its list of domestic social issues to better reflect the public discourse.

Facebook Tightens Political Advertising Rules

Bracing for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the company adds more steps for buyers of political ads. Disinformation experts aren’t sure it is enough.


What To Do When An Advertiser Becomes A Candidate


A Political Advertising Refresher Course

If the initial excitement you feel at the prospect of what will hopefully be another bountiful political advertising market quickly gives way to a sick, uneasy feeling as you try to recall the FCC’s rather complex, and often confusing, political broadcasting rules, then this “update” is for you.

BIA: 2020 Local Political Adv. To Top $6.5B

Over-the-air television will earn the majority of the ad spend (47%) at $3.08 billion. Online/digital outlets will receive $1.37 billion (21%), while $919 million (14%) will be spent on multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and just over $312 million (4.8%) will go to radio. The balance will go to other media.

2020 Political Ad Race Projected To Reach $6B

Combined political ad buys on broadcast, cable and digital media outlets will reach $6 billion during the 2020 Presidential election year campaign cycle, according to a new report released Wednesday by Advertising Analytics and Cross Screen Media. The projection represents a 57% increase over what was spent during the 2018 midterm election cycle.

TV Ad Wars Begin In La. Governor’s Race

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A day after Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards launched the TV campaign for his re-election bid, a Republican group responded Tuesday with its own advertising to attack the Democratic incumbent’s performance. The Republican Governors Association said its first 30-second TV spot of the governor’s race, financed by its political action […]

Gray Is Poised For Election Ad Deluge

Broadcasting company Gray Television is well placed to profit from an anticipated deluge of political advertising ahead of U.S. elections in 2020, according to Barron’s, which says good ratings in its local TV markets would be attractive to congressional, senatorial, gubernatorial and presidential campaigns looking to place campaign spots.


What’s In Store In ‘19? Jessell’s 8-Ball Knows

TVNewsCheck’s prescient editor, Harry Jessell, asks his infallible Magic 8-Ball to reveal how 2019 will unfold for various aspects of the television business, including core advertising, political advertising, retrans, mergers, FCC ownership caps, Big-4 duopolies and ATSC 3.0. He then expounds on the answers since, while all-knowing, the 8-Ball is notoriously terse.

Over $3B Spent On Midterm Local TV Ads

The total set a new record for political ad spending on local broadcast television for any election cycle, according to TVB.

Fox, NBCU Stop Airing Trump Immigrant Ad

Both networks said today they will stop airing President Donald Trump’s campaign advertisement that featured an immigrant convicted of murder. Earlier, CNN had rejected the same ad, declaring it racist.


Jessell | Political Ads A Small Price For Local TV News

Viewers may be sick of campaign ads, the mostly negative content and the sheer repetition of many of them, but the revenue they produce helps in a big way to sustain local TV news.

Senators To Facebook: Fix Political Ad Tool

A recent Facebook initiative aimed at combating foreign interference in elections involves requiring political-ad purchasers to identify themselves in “paid for by” disclaimers. But Facebook’s system suffers from some “significant apparent loopholes,” including one that allows ad purchasers to lie about their identities, Senate Democrats Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) and Mark Warner (Virginia) say in a new letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

NBC Slammed For Trump Ad In ‘SNF’

NBC is getting grief over its decision to air an election ad from President Trump that focuses on the migrant caravan in Mexico. The airing of the ad came around 10:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, about two hours into NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast in a game between the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots. It also comes a day after news surfaced that CNN had declined to air the spot, calling it “racist.”

Political TV Ad Spending Goes Nuts (And Negative)

Less than a week before the midterm elections, political TV advertising is setting records for both volume and negativity. Total political ad spending will reach $6.75 billion in 2018, research firm PQ Media predicts, with about half of that going to television.

Dems Outspending GOP On Local Political Ads

A new report from Matrix Solutions shows Democratic candidates in Senate “toss up” races have purchased $9.9 million more in local TV spots than that of their opponents.

Facebook Reveals Biggest Political Ad Spenders

Facebook is giving more details about who is spending the most money on political ads on its platform, and the leader this election cycle is … Facebook. Facebook calculated its political ad spending to be $12 million, for ads on the social network and Instagram. Those ads were, in general, related to getting out the vote and the latest changes to the platform to clean up political messaging. Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who is running for the Senate, is the top candidate spender.

Breaking Taboo, Negative Ads Fly During Michael

As Hurricane Michael bore down Wednesday on the Panhandle with Category 4 winds, the Republican Party of Florida broke with tradition and continued to air two ads bashing Ron DeSantis’ Democratic rival in the race for governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, over his city’s response to a hurricane in 2016. And in the U.S. Senate race, the Democratic super PAC backing Sen. Bill Nelson (D) began running a negative commercial in strike-zone markets attacking his opponent Gov. Rick Scott. Also in those markets, a Republican super PAC supporting Scott is attacking Nelson in an ad for being “an empty suit.”

Hidden Money Is Funding The Midterms

Strategies that let super PACs delay revealing their donors until after the election are gaining popularity among both Democrats and Republicans.