Monday, July 14, 2008

7th District Media Markets - Part II



Last week, I briefly examined the media markets which cover the 7th District and commented on their cost, wondering what role it would play in the race. You may recall this handy map:


Inspired by the same FiveThirtyEight.com post, Swing State Project blogger Crisitunity created what he calls the "Bang-for-the-Buck Index" of House races. As he explains:
Time for the thrilling conclusion to the Bang-for-the-Buck Index, begun yesterday with the Senate installment. Follow the link for full methodological nitty-gritty, but the main thing that you need to know is that this index shows which races are the cheapest media-wise (and thus where one netroots dollar gets stretched the furthest). This list covers all House races that Swing State Project projects as Dem pickup opportunities.

The middle column lists every media market that needs to be utilized in order to blanket the district, and the number next to each market is the number of thousands of TV households in that market. The more TV households, the more expensive the market. (When a market only grazes a small part of the district where there's no major population center, I've deemed the market negligible, assuming that a smart media buyer wouldn't use that market.) The number in the right column is the sum total of the thousands of TV households in all markets in the district, which provides a relative number that indicates how expensive a media campaign in that district is.

As you'll see, there's a huge amount of variation, depending on the number of 'wasted eyeballs.' The wasted eyeballs problem becomes huge in suburban districts in major metropolitan districts, where you may be paying to advertise to people in the adjacent 10 or 20 districts as well.

In his index of competitive House races, his entry for Michigan's 7th District is:
MI-07Detroit (1,936)
Toledo (427)
Lansing (257)
Grand Rapids (732)
3,352
In other words, in our district, advertising in all four markets which cover us is the equivalent of advertising to 3.3 million television households. For comparison, the Philadelphia market is only 2.9 million television households, while Chicago's market barely edges us out, with 3.4 million television households. As he stated in his post, the more households, the more expensive it is.

This makes the 7th District the 15th most expensive district in Crisitunity's list (with about 80 districts on the list as possible Democratic pick-ups), mainly following districts covered by the New York (7.4 million), Los Angeles (5.5 million), and Chicago (3.4 million) markets.

As Crisitunity continues:
You may have also noticed a number of predominantly rural districts that should theoretically be cheap but in fact are very expensive; MI-07 and NC-08 are key examples, each of which are kind of located between major cities and wind up biting a corner out of a bunch of different markets. Poor PA-05 is the perhaps the worst example; it doesn't even have any TV stations in its boundaries, but it takes bites out of about 8 surrounding markets. Districts like these, again, are probably dealt with creatively, with buys in some TV markets and more focus on cable and other media.
As with the previous post on this subject, I don't have a profound conclusion on this, but it's something I find interesting.

As of July 09, 2008, I have been working with the Schauer for Congress campaign in Lenawee County. My thoughts and writings are my own opinions, and I do not speak for Senator Schauer or anyone else in his organization.

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