Are Your Clients Advertising on the New Must-​See TV Programs?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Media reps used to advise clients to buy ad time during live sports programming. That’s when people huddled around the TV set to be sure they didn’t miss anything. Consumers are still watching live sports, but they’ve added another must-​see category to their TV viewing schedule: political discussion.

Audience Size

According the VAB, consumers now consider political wonks like Rachel Maddow to be must-​see TV. With 9.7 million Twitter followers, Maddow is ahead of Tiger Woods, who can boast 6.5 million devotees. When political analysts are on TV, people watch. In comparing the size of the TV audience for big sports events and political news reports by day of the week, VAB analysts found similar counts. 

Group Viewing

U.S. adults aren’t just gathering with friends to watch a big playoff game these days. They’re also watching political debates and turning these events into an opportunity to socialize with like-​minded friends or family members. These viewers are typically college-​educated and younger than average. In fact, 74% of surveyed consumers, based on Nielsen data, say they watch cable news political programming when they are out-of-home.

In addition to watching political programming at a friend’s home, 51%, consumers also pay attention to what’s going on when the restaurant or bar TV is tuned to the right station. There are a couple of other places that your clients can connect with these on-​the-​go consumers who watch must-​see political programming.

  • Gym/​Fitness Center 30%
  • Hotel Room 22%
  • At Work 38%

Consumers can access many formats to get their political fix. And they do so in the following percentages:

  • TV 44%
  • Online 34%
  • Radio 14%
  • Print 7%

With so many people connected to their digital devices 24–7 these days, it may seem surprising that online political news access doesn’t score a higher rating in the list above. It's possible that consumers are concerned about fake news proliferating on social media. 

You may be focused on selling your media space to political advertisers in the next few months. Keep in mind that other clients want to reach consumers who are watching must-​see special hearings and debates, whether they are at the local or national level. To learn more about voters who have specific political affiliations or who watch the TV news, check out the AudienceSCAN reports available from AdMall at SalesFuel.