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Local Political Advertising to Top $6.55 Billion in 2020, According to BIA Forecast

Aug 5, 2019

BIA Forecast Local Political 2020 Aug 2019BIA Advisory Services estimates $6.55 billion will be spent in local political advertising in 2020. The firm forecasts that over-the-air (OTA) television will earn the majority of the ad spend (47 percent) at $3.08 billion. Online/digital outlets will receive $1.37 billion (21 percent), while $919 million (14.0 percent) will be spent on multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and just over $312 million (4.8 percent) for Radio. The balance will go to other media.

The firm’s new report, Local Market Political Ad Spend Forecast 2020, details the ad spend across media for all 210 local markets.

“It’s going to be a very interesting political year where some very large markets will not see much in political advertising while some small markets will see an extraordinary amount of advertising due to competitive Gubernatorial, Senate and House races along with the Presidential election,” said Mark Fratrik, Chief Economist and SVP, BIA Advisory Services. “Campaigns will continue to rely on television as a dominant platform for advertising while supplementing with digital advertising across mobile and desktop.”

BIA’s forecast indicates the amount of political advertising will vary significantly from market to market based on the size of the market and specifics of local elections.

The three top local political revenue generating markets will be Los Angeles, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and Philadelphia, PA. In each market, TV OTA will receive more than $130 million in advertising with online/digital ad spend getting over 25% of the total spend. Direct mail, normally a dominant medium in other categories, will only capture a small percentage of market spend in general.

BIA Local Political Ad Spend Top Markets Aug 2019

“In some of the smaller markets, one thing to keep an eye on is how the huge volume of political advertising could crowd out other local advertisers during primary and general election seasons. That may have an impact on advertisers and media companies, and we’ll certainly factor that into our forecasting as we go through the fall,” said Fratrik.

BIA 2020 Political Ad Projections for Local Markets

BIA’s new in-depth, local market level political advertising estimates will be provided to the firm’s BIA ADVantage clients. The 2020 political forecast can be purchased separately here. (Enter code POLITICAL2020 to get $1,000 off the price.)

BIA ADVantage delivers local market advertising intelligence for 94 business categories, including political, for every TV and radio market in the nation. For information on how to subscribe to BIA ADVantage, email

About BIA Advisory Services

BIA Advisory Services is at the forefront of local media analysis, creating and delivering unique data to examine traditional and digital advertising revenue, advertiser trends and activities, local market profiles and ownership/operational details and the trends and technologies guiding today’s media business.

Since 1983, BIA has been a valuable resource for traditional and digital media companies, brands and agencies, the financial and legal community serving media and telecom, as well as the FCC, DOJ, and other government agencies. Today, we offer comprehensive local market advertising intelligence in our BIA ADVantage service to help clients discover the path to their best opportunities. Learn more about our offerings at

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