Political campaigns increasingly face the challenge of getting their message across to voters who split their time across a wider variety of media channels and viewing devices. These campaigns are expected to spend up to $9 billion, including $1.8 billion on connected TV, during this year’s midterm election cycle.
As these campaigns seek to expand their reach, EW Scripps Co. is leading an effort to provide political media agencies with access to connected TV audiences. The company this month rolled out the Scripps Political CTV Consortium to provide a single source of advertising inventory among broadcasters, including Cox Media Group, Capitol Broadcasting Co. and Graham Media Group.
“In addition to being a 143-year-old company. EW Scripps Co. has had a full-time political sales office in Washington, DC, for the past 12 years,” said Ken Ripley, vice president of sales at Scripps Networks, in this interview with Beet.TV “We understand the political market from where we do business and how we do business inside the Beltway.”
Having a presence in the nation’s capital is important because several media agencies specializing in political campaigns have offices there.
“It may surprise some people to learn that more than 80% of all political dollars each election year are placed in the DC market,” Ripley told Rob Williams, editor of Beet.TV. “Parties can better direct their fundraising efforts through DC agencies, and their expertise in those agencies should be able to affect not just the presidential election, but virtually any election.”
Single point of contact
Scripps works exclusively with sell-side platform Magnite to make CTV inventory available to agencies and programmatic buyers. The Scripps Consortium’s goal is to provide a “one-stop shop” for political agencies that have a narrow window of time to quickly reach voters for party primaries and general elections.
“They have a lot of states, a lot of elections, a lot of different data coming in all the time,” Ripley said. “Being able to bring broadcasters together and act as a single point of contact makes us much more efficient in being able to serve agencies.”
Is California a battleground state?
Each election cycle brings its own set of races to the battlefield as voter sentiment changes, incumbents retire or challengers emerge. This year brings key races to Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan – and notably California, where Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has been retained last year in a recall election.
“California is hardly ever a battleground state,” Ripley said. “There is a race for governors there. There’s going to be a lot of money at stake in California.
The most recent US Census Bureau demographic survey is reshaping the political map as states lose or gain seats in the House of Representatives.
“There’s a lot more open seats that weren’t open before,” Ripley said, “and there’s a lot at stake for both sides to do their best halfway through.”
Importance of local news
Scripps operates 61 broadcast stations in 41 markets, making the company a key source of local election information.
“Local news is a vital lifeline in every market,” Ripley said. “The market people watching this show are the people who want to be informed, and that’s the kind of voters these campaigns want to reach.”
Scripps continues to expand its reach as more media companies join its CTV consortium.
“It’s going to continue to grow,” Ripley said. “Our goal is not just to pass halfway. Our goal is to maintain this and develop it for the next presidential election and for the next 20 years after that.