Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker tracks political ad spending closer than just about anybody on Wall Street, and just raised her forecast (previously $4.9B) after watching cash gush into TV stations. Her new total compares with $4.6B spent in 2010. But it really stands out relative to the totals during the last two years that included presidential races: If Ryvicker’s right, then political ad sales this year will be 23% higher than in 2008, and up 95% vs 2004. She figures that local stations will account for 54% of the total spending, while 2% will go to networks and 9% to cable operators. Another 18% will be spent on direct mail, with 6% going to the Internet while the remainder is divided among radio, newspapers, billboards, and other forms of outreach. Nearly $808M has already been spent this year on campaigns with 45.7% going to the presidential race, 33% for House and Senate candidates, 17.5% for ballot initiatives, and 3.8% to local contests. The biggest beneficiaries thus far have been stations owned by Fox, CBS, Gannett, Sinclair, and NBC — especially in markets such as Cleveland, Washington DC, Tampa, Las Vegas, and Orlando that are either in or near battleground states. But relative to market size, the winners are stations owned by Sinclair, Gannett, Gray Television, LIN, and Nexstar in markets including Sioux City, Iowa; Davenport, Ill.; Las Vegas; Butte, Mont.; and Reno, Nev.
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