Monday, November 9, 2020

Politicians spent a record-breaking $375M on advertising in Michigan

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 12:36 PM

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There were many winners and losers as a result of last week's election — including President Trump who, as of Saturday, falls into the latter category, yet childishly refuses to concede to President-elect Joe Biden.

But a new report reveals that Michigan's local TV and radio stations were among those that won big, while Michigan voters, viewers, and listeners lost... a shit ton of time being barraged by political advertisements.

The report, from the Lansing-based Michigan Campaign Finance Network, revealed that politicians dumped $375 million into TV, cable, and radio advertising in Michigan, shattering previous spending records like the one set during the 2018 midterm elections, which totaled $324 million, Crain's Detroit Business reports.

Metro Detroit area cable networks received an estimated $39.5 million in revenue, while local radio stations raked in $12.8 million. Local channels, however, saw a solid $151.1 million boost in revenue from this year's ad spending with WDIV-Channel 4 taking in $54.3 million, WJBK-Channel 2 taking in $41.2 million, WXYZ-Channel 7 taking in $34.9 million, and WWJ-Channel 62 taking in $16.3 million, according to MCFN's advertising analytics.

It should come as no surprise that a large chunk of Michigan's ad windfall, or $125 million, was due to the onslaught of ads pushed out by the presidential race — which, again, Trump lost — and the contest between incumbent Democratic Senator Gary Peters and conservative businessman and Kid Rock-approved two-time Senate loser John James. Together, James and Peters dropped a combined $131 million on state-wide advertising, making it the eighth-most expensive Senate race in the country.

Simon Schuster, executive director of the MCFN, told Crain's that the amount of money spent in Michigan this election was an “absurd amount.”

“Well, obviously, the winners are, you know, advertising agencies and broadcast advertisers,” Schuster said. “I think it'd be difficult to say that the winners were Michigan voters in that regard.”

Schuster notes that it's not the amount of advertising voters are exposed to that is necessarily the issue, but how voters are exposed to advertisements.

“I think that what we need to be looking forward to is not just volume, but the nature in which we receive our advertisements, and how they are meant to sway us. Disinformation and misinformation breed on social media,” Schuster said. “And I think that the means and avenues by which that proliferates is only going to become more efficient and more nefarious moving forward.”

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