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Feb 20, 2018  By Steve Lanzano

Facebook’s recent commitment to prioritize local news confirms local broadcast TV’s role in serving as a trusted news source. Last week, Twitter announced it will feature live, local broadcast TV during emergencies. Trust in local TV is especially relevant during political campaigns, when voters are looking for reliable information on candidates.

The political stakes in 2018 are high with 34 U.S. Senate seats and 36 governorships in contention, plus control of the House. Due to this competitive environment and the growing concern over fake news, campaigns will be looking for the most trustworthy platforms to place their ads. As candidates across the country plan their advertising, the key to winning will remain the same: local broadcast TV.


It’s no secret that distrust of the media is a real concern for many voters. So-called “ghost” ad buys and the rise of fake news on social platforms have made voters skeptical of information they see online. In fact, only 33 percent of voters view social media as a trusted news source according to a Morning Consult study. To win, campaigns must use advertising platforms that voters trust. The same study showed voters view local broadcast TV as a highly trustworthy medium, with 68 percent of voters considering it to be the most trusted news source.

This trusted reputation means that voters are more likely to embrace a campaign’s messaging and share it with others when they learn about that campaign from local broadcast TV political ads. And in terms of breadth of reach, local broadcast TV spans across all political spectrums. According to a new report from Pew Research, there are no partisan differences in news consumption on local broadcast TV, unlike for cable and network news.


Expediency is also key to effective political media placements. There are considerable advantages – especially when it comes to buying political – to using automated platforms for local spot TV.

“Political buys involve less negotiation than a standard local spot TV buy,” says Brad Smith, Senior Vice President of Revenue and Operations at Videa. “There is less movement of spots and fewer cancellations. Campaigns also allocate their budgets to spend their cash up front.”

Political is a natural fit for the tools and efficiencies offered by software solutions in the local broadcast TV space. 2018 promises to be the year when automated TV enters the local TV media cycle.


Experts anticipate an influx of TV and digital ad spending due to the number of competitive races this cycle. While a high level of spending is typical for traditional battleground states, other markets could see an uptick in ads as toss-up races emerge in previously solid Republican or Democratic areas.

In these highly contentious situations, an effective ad spending strategy could make or break a campaign. In a new report, Kantar Millward Brown found that integrated campaigns are 31% more effective at building brands and that certain channels work particularly well together.

With such high stakes, the 2018 elections will provide new insight into the evolution of modern campaigning and the need for trust, expediency, and synergy at the local level. Given emerging trends and TV’s successful history of shaping political outcomes, local broadcast TV continues to be the top choice for political campaigns.

As consistently seen in Nielsen and Pew research, local TV news still leads among all other news sources and has the widest reach. In 2018, winning campaigns know that local broadcast TV wins elections. And they know why: because We Get Voters.

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