Political Is Coming. And it will crush the underprepared.
Every trade publication is buzzing about it. And every broadcast sales manager is split between eagerly awaiting it and dreading its arrival. It represents the classic love-hate relationship - the surge of 2024 political ad spend.
Political advertising is expected to arrive earlier than ever before and hit record spend levels. And while its revenue impact is highly anticipated following a soft start to 2023, there is no denying that it comes at a steep cost…it embodies the perfect storm of the most complex, high-touch, time consuming type of business for media organizations. Here are three areas to prepare for before the political season is upon us.
1. The RULES
Political LUR violations can be so daunting that in the glory days of advertising as many as 1 in 5 broadcasters would opt out of political advertising altogether, walking away from lucrative political spend just to avoid the risk of being in FCC violation.
Turning away from political advertising is a luxury that most stations can no longer afford, leaving sales managers no choice but to diligently and carefully craft a political rate card by establishing LURs across a myriad of classes of time.
But the most tedious work kicks in during the political window, when every single spot, on every single order, needs to be examined with a fine-tooth comb to ensure it’s not in violation of the established LUR. And the stakes are high as mistakes can result in credits, lost revenue, fines, and legal implications.
2. The MAKEGOODS
There’s little doubt that candidate and issue advertising is going to come in fast and furious ahead of the 2024 election, which is good news for revenue but bad news for non-political clients who want a share of voice among the onslaught of political advertising.
With PACs, Super PACs, and politicians willing to pay the freight to guarantee their spot on-air, many advertisers are going to get left in the dust of preemptions. Inevitably this will lead to unhappy clients, frantic traffic teams, and a plethora of manual work to get spots back on the log or credited. And if not handled well, it will mean crawling back to core advertisers in 2025, asking for forgiveness in hopes they will continue to place their business in broadcast after the wake of political.
3. The TIME
Doing business during political years is extremely time-consuming for broadcasters. In addition to having to run your day-to-day station operations, you also need to abide by additional political rules such as uploading political campaign data to the appropriate FCC website, and double, triple, and even quadruple checking your work to ensure you are not in violation of any political rules.
Non-political ad buyers will still have the same expectations, so adding the mountain of time and attention it takes to manage the entire process is not to be underestimated.
RateOptics™ can help alleviate these challenges and ensure that sales managers and ops teams have the bandwidth to focus on the most critical aspects of the political season. It’s time we not only talk about the amount of political spending during the 2024 election season, but also highlight the challenges and stress that sales managers face during political windows. RateOptics™ helps broadcasters stay ahead of LURs, set rates, and monitor violations to help make political seasons less painful and more profitable than ever before.
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