Political Ad Spending Expected to Break $11.4 Billion

March 2016

Political Ad Spending Expected to Break $11.4 Billion


The 2016 election is historic for many reasons. Brands and media buyers may be among the few who know one staggering reason: this election, political ad spending is expected to break $11.4 billion. This is an increase of 20% from the last presidential election. 


Record Breaking Political Ad Spending 

Before the Iowa Caucus, campaigns spent more than $40 million on broadcast advertising. In the weeks leading up to Super Tuesday, many broadcast and digital channels, including social media, were overrun with political advertising. Even on cable television, political ad spending has increased to unprecedented levels. 


The Wesleyan Media Project, a research group at Wesleyan University, has calculated that spending on ads has already reached $156 million, almost triple what was spent by this point in the 2012 campaign.

Los Angeles Times


In the final two weeks before Super Tuesday, Republican super PACs coalesced, airing roughly 8,500 ads blasting [the] GOP front-runner.

The Center for Public Integrity


The cable industry sold $500 million worth of TV spots to political advertisers in 2012, and is on pace to hit $850 million this election


This crowded environment leaves audiences inundated with often negative political messages and brand messages and opportunities to connect with consumers diluted. In 2016 — and every other election year — NPR and PBS will be free of all political advertising. The result is platforms that brands can leverage to rise above the noise.

With an average of one minute of sponsor messages per hour of prime time programming, brands shine on PBS. Likewise, NPR offers an uncluttered platform with an average of two minutes of sponsor messages per hour during drive time programming. 


Audiences turn to public media for something different.

Across all platforms – TV, radio and online – audiences turn to PBS and NPR to find unbiased coverage and analysis in a politically neutral environment. For 12 consecutive years, PBS has been named the nation’s most-trusted institution. NPR’s award-winning reporting, powerful storytelling, and innovative content make it a source of trusted information for more than 40 years. The trust that audiences have in NPR and PBS extends to sponsors as well. 

Political Ad Spending Expected to Break $11.4 Billion


Don’t Get Tuned Out. Be Heard on NPR and PBS.

Don’t dilute your brand’s message. This election season, take it to NPR and PBS to rise above the noise. Align with powerful platforms to connect with affluent, educated and influential audiences. Learn more about opportunities with NPR and PBS.