Unless you live in New Jersey or Virginia, 2013 has been blissfully free of televised political ads. You can watch all the Seinfeld reruns you want and not be bombarded with someone’s grandma calmly explaining to you over the air why your congressional representative is the second coming of Lucifer. Or, you know, that a politician running for one of your state’s Senate seats isn’t a witch.
But, as it turns out, that’s not good news for everybody. In fact, it’s very, very bad news for the companies that own local television stations.
According to data compiled by Pew Research, some big companies have suffered major revenue losses this year due to the lack of political advertising. The Washington Post Co., which owns six local television stations, saw an 18 percent revenue decline this year, with a $16 million loss in political ad money. Scripps, which owns 19 local television stations, amassed just $1 million in political ad revenue in the third quarter of this year, compared with nearly $33 million during the same period in 2012. Seven major companies in total showed significant declines in revenue this year compared with last year.
Last year, local television stations received a record $3.1 billion from political ads. So while you may be dreading the return of election season next year, know that there are at least a few people who can’t have the ads turned back on soon enough.