“If 2004 was about Meetup, 2008 was about Facebook, 2016 is going to be about Meerkat (or something just like it),” vowed President Barack Obama’s ex-communications guru Dan Pfeiffer.=
Not yet. It’s increasingly clear, as two dozen campaigns and their super PACs plot their strategies, that 2016, will be, once again, about television.
Between campaigns and independent groups, television-ad spending during the 2016 elections is projected to top $4.4 billion. That’s more than a half-billion more than in 2012. And it’s at least four times what campaigns and groups are preparing to spend on their online strategies.
The extinction of the 30-second political television ad has long been predicted as long as that of the bald eagle. In 2011, a columnist for the Daily Beast wrote about the advent of the viral Internet video in a piece called “The End of TV Campaign Ads?”
But that’s not what the roughly two-dozen presidential campaigns are thinking, according to a POLITICO survey of ad buyers and campaign strategists.
“The bulk of advertising is still going to be on TV,” said Brent McGoldrick, who served as the director of advertising and analytics on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and is now CEO of Deep Root Analytics, a Republican ad-targeting firm. “It is a proven medium. It is a medium that most campaigns and most consultants are used to.”