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Campaign TV ad buyers love crime shows

Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014

* From NBC Chicago

There’s a reason why your primetime “Law & Order: SVU” binges are being interrupted with an increasing number of negative political commercials.

As it happens, politicians’ campaigns and the special interests that back them are intentionally programming their gloomiest, most attack-y ads during gritty procedural crime dramas that air in primetime, according to new research from The Cook Political Report’s Elizabeth Wilner.

Almost 77 percent of political spots that aired during police, mystery and suspense series were negative in tone, followed by 71 percent of entertainment magazine programs.

Political media buyers know that “if you are watching between the hours of 7 and 11, you already are tuning in for some sort of violence or character assassination,” Wilner told USA Today in an interview, adding: “You are primed … for drama anyway.”

* From the Cook Political Report story

- Early morning (5am-8:59am) is by far the most popular “daypart”—i.e., time of day—for airing political ads overall, accounting for 24% of all spot occurrences covered in the study. A gap of 8,000 spots separates early morning (34,576) from the next most preferred daypart, daytime (9am-3:59pm; 26,608).

- Local news remains by far the preferred programming genre for airing political ads overall, claiming 43% of all spots included in the study and seeing nearly three times as many spots as the next most preferred genre, talk shows (61,039 to 21,054).

- Crime shows, followed by entertainment magazine shows, see the highest shares of negative ads out of all spots aired within those genres (76.5% and 70.7%, respectively).

The study was conducted of general election advertising in key Senate, House and governor races rated as “toss-up” by the Cook Political Report as of July 14.

Per Harley’s dataviz, 70.5% of all spot occurrences—or individual airings of TV ads—during primetime programming (8pm-10:59pm) were either totally negative or contrast, followed by prime access (7-7:59pm) at 68.1%. By comparison, 65.1% of all spot occurrences during early morning programming and 63.4% of spots airing during late fringe (11:30pm-4:59am) were negative or contrast.

* Local news shows have always been a desired political advertising vehicle and some DC TV outlets accommodated campaigns in 2012. From the Washington Post

Faced with an unprecedented flood of commercials for candidates and causes, Washington’s TV stations have had to get creative to fit them all in. Some are trimming their regular programming to squeeze in a few more ads, and some are adding more news at other hours.

WTTG (Channel 5), the District’s Fox affiliate, for example, began bumping daily reruns of “The Simpsons” on Monday to add an extra half-hour to its 6 p.m. newscast. The expanded “News Edge” program will focus on political news — the kind of programming political advertisers demand most.

WJLA (Channel 7), the area’s ABC affiliate, has temporarily added two weekend newscasts to its schedule for the same reason. On Saturday, the station preempted network programming and aired a two-hour movie in prime time in order to create more local ad slots. The station has occasionally shaved time from some of its weekday programming to accommodate an extra political ad or two, said Bill Lord, WJLA’s general manager.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


10 Comments
  1. - a drop in - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    Hope I don’t wear out my mute button.


  2. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    This is another reason I’m happy I bought a Roku and a subscription to HuluPlus. I will be watching last night’s Daily Show tonight, but I have yet to see a political ad via streaming video.


  3. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    Political TV ad = time to channel surf, get back to the work project I brought home, or put on head phones for a computer game.


  4. - Shore - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    one of the better posts of the year.


  5. - Shark Sandwich - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    “In the binge viewing audience, politically based attack ads are considered especially heinous…”


  6. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 12:32 pm:

    Ugh, my wife and daughter are hooked on those CSI SUV Law and Order shows. Talk about phone-it-in formula.

    My cue to leave the room (maybe that’s why they watch them).


  7. - Leatherneck - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    How appropriate here in Illinois that political ads frequently appear on crime shows, considering part of the state’s political history as far back as at least Governor Matteson (1853-1857).


  8. - Ghost - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    So the sci - fi channel is safe….. You can watch sharknado and sharknado 2 in peace….


  9. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    I don’t watch any of those crime shows but I certainly learned something today with this posting!


  10. - Person 8 - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 6:10 pm:

    The power of DVR!!

    This is most likely why Rauner had ads during bears games.


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