Campaigns rack up nearly $20 million in TV ads in Denver market

By CU NEWS CORPS

For the I-News Network

Coloradans troubled by a sense that political advertising on TV truly is unremitting this late summer, the broadcast equivalent of a jackhammer breaking up an old sidewalk, may take some comfort in knowing their concerns have merit.

In fact, there’s almost $20 million worth of merit to those concerns. That’s the total spent by 21 groups on an astonishing 18,956 political ads. And that’s only for political spots at the four largest Denver stations, KCNC, KDVR, KMGH and KUSA.

Station Expenditures by station Number of spots
KCNC $4,801,755 3,657
KDVR $3,169,755 5,837
KMGH $4,895,455 4,603
KUSA $7,038,555 4,859

To put it another way, if you sat down at noon Sunday and watched each airing back-to-back, you wouldn’t emerge until six days and 14 hours later, missing everything but Monday Night Football on Sept. 24.

The analysis by the students of CU News Corps covers political advertising contracts uploaded by the stations to the Federal Communications Commission as of Sept. 11 for ads purchased to run between July 30 and Nov. 6. It does not include contracts purchased prior to the FCC’s deadline requiring the contracts to be posted online.

Denver is the No. 3 media market for presidential campaign ads this year, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which examines political advertising nationally. Only Las Vegas and Cleveland have seen more spots between April 25 and Sept. 8, according to the group.

“It’s unbelievably crowded,” said Erika Franklin Fowler, an assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., who directs the project. “Colorado has a front and center seat for this campaign.”

Money

Even so, as with advertising targeting all the swing states, the spots are aimed at a narrow slice of the electorate, said Kyle Saunders, an associate professor of political science at Colorado State University.

“These ads are aimed at somewhere around 15 percent of the people inside those 10 competitive states who are going to determine the outcome of this election,” Saunders said.

The July 30-Nov.6 numbers for the four Denver stations do not include contracts purchased prior to the FCC’s deadline requiring the contracts to be posted online.

Even so, the numbers are impressive:

  • Twenty-one groups are spending almost $20 million on 18,956 ads. At 30

    seconds each, that’s almost 158 hours – at an average price of $1,050 per spot.

  • The largest spender to date is Obama for America at $4.6 million for 5,732 spots. The Obama campaign has purchased advertising through Election Day, with more than 100 spots planned on each station for most weeks.
  • The Romney campaign has spent more than $1.4 million for 1,596 spots. Thus far, the campaign only has slots purchased through Sept. 18.
  • Super PACs account for about $4.5 million of the ad buys with 3,425 spots. Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting Obama, leads the way with $1.9 million spent, followed by the Karl Rove-led conservative PAC, American Crossroads at $1.2 million.
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $2.1 million in ad buys while the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee has spent almost $2 million on buys. These ads are aimed at Colorado U.S. House races. The GOP ads ran mostly in August, while the Democratic ads are slated to begin later this month and run through Election Day, according to the analysis.
  • In the 7th Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Rep. Ed Perlmutter has scheduled almost $1.4 million worth of advertising, while Joe Coors, his Republican challenger, has booked $989,000 in ads. Both candidates have purchased ad time through the November election. Coors reserved additional ad time through Election Day before the stations were required to file political ad files with the FCC.
  • In the 6th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman has contracted for $660,315 in ads, while Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi has contracted for $723,725.

The Big Spenders

Advertiser Total Spent Number of Spots Average cost
Obama for America $ 4,596,985 5,732 $ 801.99
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee $ 2,119,675 1,458 $ 1,453.82
National Republican Congressional Committee $1,958,075 671 $2,918.14
Priorities USA Action $1,928,490 1,792 $1,076.17
Perlmutter for Congress $1,379,155 1,822 $756.95
American Crossroads $1,145,100 760 $1,506.71
Romney for President $1,345,745 1,412 $939.82
JOE COORS 4 CONGRESS $988,900 1,045 $946.32
Americans for Prosperity $950,990 471 $2,019.09
Joe Miklosi for Congress $723,725 891 $812.26
House Majority PAC $ 656,550 458 $1,433.52
Restore our Future $411,625 304 $1,354.03
Mike Coffman for Congress $660,315 730 $904.54
Pace for Congress 2012 $270,890 515 $526.00
Republican National Committee $250,625 250 $1,002.50
TIPTON FOR CONGRESS $161,100 92 $1,751.09
President/DNC Obama $115,025 181 $635.50
SEIU/AFSCME $107,125 65 $1,648.08
RNC-Romney/R/President $83,550 184 $454.08
Crossroads GPS $42,825 98 $436.99
Mayors Against Illegal Guns $9,050 25 $362.00
Totals $19,905,520 18,956 $1,050

The CU News Corps is a class in Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Colorado aimed at providing student-produced news stories, multimedia work and interactive information to Colorado and national media outlets.

2 thoughts on “Campaigns rack up nearly $20 million in TV ads in Denver market

  1. One survey claimed that 20% of American homes do not have pay television.  The stations you listed are all local broadcast stations, so who are they really reaching?  Or …. do people with Cable or Satellite service actually watch commercial television?

  2. Pingback: Digital hasn’t overtaken TV in one realm: political ads | Unfair And Unbalanced

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