Every 2 years, local media companies anticipate a revenue boost from political advertising. In recent years, divisive campaigns have resulted in huge windfalls for some TV station operators and electionnewspaper publishers. 2014 is an election year with plenty of expected campaign advertising but some industry watchers are predicting a significant shift from traditional to digital media formats. The Off the Grid survey produced for Google links the shift to changing consumer behavior.

Campaign strategists have long relied on the ability of live TV to connect with voters but pollsters are finding that fewer people are watching this format. In fact, about 30% of voters don’t watch live TV in any given week. Pollsters have also detected increases in the new ways consumers are accessing TV content. In a typical week, the numbers look like this:

  • Streamed through TV 27%
  • Smartphone 26%
  • Tablet 26%

Consumers are still watching video content, but they’re accessing the material through a variety of channels. With 19% viewing recorded programming on a Tivo or DVR, chances are high that voters are skipping past political ads.

What really makes pollsters nervous is the lower rate of live TV viewing by key voting groups. For example, other than sporting events, 38% of independents and 32% of moderates say they don’t watch live TV in a typical week. These are often the voters that  swing an election and are therefore important to reach through advertising.

This study didn’t suggest how far campaigns managers will go in shifting their ad budgets from traditional and digital formats this year but media sellers should be aware of this trend and be prepared to offer up digital solutions.

To learn more about specific voting groups like Fiscal Conservatives or Democrats, check out the Audience Interests & Intent Report available at the Research Store on ad-ology.com.