End the duopoly

Political advertising grows on streaming services, along with questions about disclosure

In one recent ad from the conservative group FreedomWorks, a somber young woman looks into the camera and talks about Covid-19’s disproportionate toll on the elderly.

“If you are healthy, it’s time to demand, we get back to work,” she says, before encouraging viewers to send a text to urge governors to “liberate” their states.

Another commercial, this one from the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action, flashes grim images of older Americans wearing face masks and warned of cuts to Medicare by President Donald Trump.

Instead of appearing on either cable or broadcast television, these commercials ran on the streaming service Hulu — a sign of streaming’s growing importance in the world of politics as more Americans cut the cord on cable subscriptions and independent groups, candidates and political parties seek new ways to reach their target audiences.

Overall, political spending is expected to soar in this year’s elections. Advertising tracking firms Kantar/CMAG and Advertising Analytics, estimate spending to hit from $6.5 billion to $6.7 billion.

And the coronavirus pandemic and the stay-at-home orders it triggered across the country also appear to have accelerated growth for streaming services. Streaming among viewers in the 25- to 54-year-old age group in March increased 100% over […]

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