Political Ad Spending 2012The projection today from ad firm Magna Global is a little conservative compared to some other forecasts. For example, Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker projected yesterday that political campaigns and groups will spend $3B+ this year on spot TV (up from $2.1B in 2008) with an additional $550M going to local cable (up from $333M). Even so, the Magna Global numbers confirm that the election will turn 2012 into an extraordinary year for station owners. With the political dollars, local TV ad sales will be up 14% in 2012 — and without them, the total would have been up just 2%. “Despite the rise of digital media, local TV remains essential in political marketing because only a ‘lean-back’ medium can effectively reach the low-interest, undecided voters who, by definition, are less likely to seek information from ‘lean-forward’ digital media or engage with digital campaigns,” the firm says. But industry execs and investors had better enjoy the good times while they can. Next year ad sales for all of television will fall 1.4% to $63B after rising 9% this year, Magna Global forecasts.

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