Television news networks could benefit from a longer, drawn-out election with more companies competing for ad space on and in the weeks after Nov. 3, according to an analysis published Thursday by Reuters.
With a spike in the number of mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic and anticipated legal challenges from President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the vice presidential debate Harris accuses Trump of promoting voter suppression Pence targets Biden over ISIS hostages, brings family of executed aid worker to debate MORE and Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the vice presidential debate Harris accuses Trump of promoting voter suppression Pence targets Biden over ISIS hostages, brings family of executed aid worker to debate MORE, many are expecting that Americans will not find out who the next president will be until well after Election Day.
Reuters reported that Fox News and NBC are expecting or already seeing high demand for ad space in the week following election night, with Fox News offering sponsors the opportunity to extend their marketing campaigns should results not be announced within the first week of November.
As the number of live sporting events has been limited due to COVID-19, Jeff Collins, the head of ad sales at Fox News, told Reuters that the network is already seeing increases in the average rates and deal sizes for advertisements compared to during the 2016 election night coverage.
A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that ABC is charging up to $375,000 for a 30-second spot during the next two presidential debates.
“With election coverage, you’re going to be reaching people who were previously harder to reach on TV,” Catherine Warburton, chief investment officer at ad agency 360i, said to Reuters. “You’re going to be reaching people who are community- and civic-oriented. That’s attractive to advertisers.”
Final numbers from Nielsen Media Research showed that approximately 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on Tuesday, almost 11 million fewer than the number who tuned into the first debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from the vice presidential debate Trump campaign dialing back ads in Midwest states: report Hillicon Valley: Facebook to label posts if candidates prematurely declare victory | Supreme Court hears landmark B Google, Oracle copyright fight | House Dem accuses Ratcliffe of politicizing election security intel MORE in September 2016.
Fox News reached a record 17.8 million viewers on Tuesday night, with ABC coming in second place that evening at 12.6 million people and NBC with 9.66 million.
People familiar with the networks told Reuters that NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News sold out their ad inventory for the first debate. NBC, MSNBC and Fox News are also reportedly close to filling up all election night ad spots.