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US TV ad sales saved from massive slump by political spend

TV ad sales have been down across the globe as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but the US is likely to be saved from any further downturns as a result of the upcoming election.

According to a forecast from media research group MAGNA Global, brands will significantly increase their ad spend through to November’s election.

Ad spend in the country, it said will decline 2% compared to the same period of 2019. This may read as negative, but it will be a significant increase from the 7.2% drop in H1 2020. Overall, advertisers are predicted to spend US$213 billion on advertising in 2020, representing a year-over-year decline of 4.6%, in line with previous forecasts.

Political ad spending alone will reach an all-time high of US$5.1 billion. MAGNA said that this is because fundraising and ad spend during H1 was stronger than expected. Two-thirds of that total will be spent on local TV, with digital ad platforms netting US$1 billion.

Vincent Letang, executive vice president of global market intelligence at MAGNA, said: “It’s surprising because we thought it would slow down due to COVID. But before March, so much money had been raised already.”

The exec went on to note that digital ad platforms including Google and Facebook have been “remarkably resilient” during the peak of pandemic lockdowns.

The firm has an optimistic outlook on ad sales in a post-covid world, with the market set to post 4% growth in 2021 – a trend which broadcasters and operators will hope extends outside of the US.