As political candidates race to get last-minute votes this Super Tuesday, they're turning to TV to gain widespread support. Cable networks may be the biggest beneficiaries.
Political candidates spent more than $16.6 million on national cable commercials during the first quarter of 2016, according to industry data from cable advertising provider firm Viamedia. The figures are 365 percent higher than what was spent in the first quarter of 2012, when only $4.6 million was spent.
The increase has been seen across the board, but especially in Super Tuesday states. Spending on cable advertising in Alabama rose 2,615 percent to $379,700 in the first quarter of this year, from $14,500 in the first quarter of 2012. Spending in Georgia was up 4,200 percent, while Massachusetts increased 2,050 percent. In Tennessee, cable advertising spending rose 55,261 percent.
Borrell Associates projected political advertising costs to hit $11.4 billion in 2016 alone, more than 20 percent higher than the previous election cycle. Digital advertising is expected to just make up $1 billion of that total figure this year.