That’s how many poor bastards in Montana have to sit through the endless parade of political TV ads this season.
Just 27,300 people won’t see those ads.
You see, just 2.6% of American households don’t own a TV, and if we base that percentage on Montana’s population of 1.05 million we get 27,300.
We know that 119.6 million American homes own at least one TV, and that 96.5% of American homes get some form of cable or satellite or broadband.
And boy do I feel sorry for those folks.
You can’t turn on the TV these days without seeing a barrage of political ads, and it’s been that way in Montana for months.
The usual hour of broadcast TV contains 13 minutes of ads, while the average hour of cable TV has 16 minutes.
The average household watches an astounding 7 hours and 50 minutes of TV each day.
This means they subject themselves to anywhere from 100 to 125 minutes of TV advertising each day.
So Americans watch ads for…
- 12 to 14 hours a week
- 48 to 60 hours a month
- 582 to 716 hours a year
So in effect, most Americans choose to spend anywhere from 24 to 29 days a year watching television ads!
A whole month.
Most Montanans must be asking themselves why they watch TV at all anymore, what with all the Tester and Rosendale and their non-affiliated PAC ads bombarding them all the time.
And if it’s not that shit, it’s bound to be Big Pharma trying to shove their poison down your throat.
$6 billion was spent trying to sell you pharmaceutical drugs last year, and since 2012 Big Pharma has increased their ad spending by 62%.
If you’re a news viewer, you see it the most – CBS News, for instance, has 72% of their nightly ad breaks taken up by Big Pharma ads.
In fact, if CBS News and others like them dropped all their drug ads tomorrow, they’d lose 8% of their total ad revenue.
But back to politics.
Back in 2016, it’s figured that $9.8 billion was spent on political ads nationally.
Of that, $4.4 billion was spent on TV ads, or 45% (for comparison, $1.4 billion was spent on online advertising and $621 million was spent on radio ads).
But that was a presidential election year. How about mid-term years?
Back in 2014, we know that $2.8 billion was spent on political TV ads.
This year it’s expected that $2.4 billion will be spent on political TV ads for local broadcasts, and another $850 million will be spent for local cable broadcasts.
This all to reach the people living in the areas where 35 senators are up for reelection, along with the 42 House seats in play (12 of them toss-ups) and the 17 governor’s offices in play (12 of them toss-ups).
Our state has seen a lot of that spending. In September it was announced that two major Democratic groups would be spending $21 million on Senate races, and Montana would get a big chunk of that.
That was after the late-May attacks on Tester by Trump, which caused Tester to spend another $790,000 on TV and internet ads in just two weeks.
In the three weeks prior to the Trump attacks, Tester had spent $440,000 on those ads.
For politicians, the formula seems to be: get into a problem, buy your way out of it with TV ads.
Sadly for us all, this seems to work.
I hope it doesn’t work for much longer.
What effect do all these ads have on our brains?
One thing we do know is that repetition of messages “is essential to building association,” and that the more these messages are used, “the more they become strong synaptic pathways within the brain in their own right.”
Hence the same ads over and over…and over again!
We know that TV ads are a lot more effective than internet ads.
For instance, TV ads generate a much higher level of engagement than internet ads, about 30%. What’s more, TV ads have a 30% higher impact on left brain, detailed memory and a 40% higher impact on right brain, global memory.
Internet ads are only good at generating higher levels of visual attention, which does not correlate strongly with long-term memory encoding, which is what ad makers are shooting for.
TV ads with music add “significantly increased emotional salience and engagement, and also have a positive impact on memory encoding and liking of an ad.”
All if it is designed to win our vote or get our money. Some of our best and brightest minds actually throw their lives away working in the advertising industry.
Imagine what good they could have done for the world.
But they decided to sell-out.
Now at the beginning of the post I mentioned the 1,022,700 people that have to watch these damn TV ads.
That number is misleading.
I don’t own a TV, but I’ve seen the ads. I’ve seen them when I’m downtown at a bar or restaurant. Sometimes I see them on news shows. Many times I catch them online when the campaigns are sharing them for the first time.
So even if you don’t have a TV, you’ll probably run into these political ads at some point.
And if you’re anything like me, they make you sick.
It’s sad that our politicians – the people that purport to care about us – shove this shit down our throat hour after hour, day after day, and year after year.
This is the only way they know how to ‘win.’
It’s sad that our political system has gotten to this point, and it’s sad that it’ll only get worse.
But the truth is that people want this. Remember, most Americans spend a month of the year watching TV ads...and willingly!
If people were truly angry with it, they’d just turn the shit box off in the first place.
But Americans can’t live without their TV.
Just another indication that we’re the greatest country in the world, eh?
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Volz, Matt. “Montana Sen. Tester boosts spending on TV, internet ads after Trump targets campaign.” Ravalli Republic. 29 May 2018. https://ravallirepublic.com/news/government-and-politics/article_e75a1192-b23a-5be6-8a81-3b537ad115f8.html