Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dish, DirecTV Unite on Addressable Political TV Ads

Satellite TV giants Dish Network and DirecTV are teaming their sales efforts to offer addressable TV ads for political campaigns this election year, creating a combined reach of more than 20 million households. Political campaigns now will be able to use both operators' addressable capabilities to target at a household level. "The DirecTV/Dish addressable advertising platform utilizes highly sophisticated and targeted technology that will allow political campaigns to specifically reach swing voters with TV ads. Campaigns can focus their message to a precise set of potential voters and eliminate the spending waste," Keith Kazerman, senior VP of ad sales at DirecTV, said in a statement. "The platform not only uniquely monetizes big data, which has become critical to every political campaign, but it does it at scale. It’s the perfect complement to local DMA cable buys and a fiscally compelling alternative to local broadcast." Warren Schlichting, senior VP of Dish media sales, was quoted as adding, "Together, Dish and DirecTV reach nearly one out of every five U.S. television households and usher TV into the modern political age." See the story at http://www.multichannel.com/distribution/dish-directv-team-addressable-political-ads/147908

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Donors Seek to Skirt IRS on Political Fundraising

As the IRS moves to limit campaign fundraising by nonprofit groups, lawyers are looking for ways to enable donors to continue to pour money into elections while remaining anonymous. According to a recent Wall Street Journal story, one option is the creation of taxable, for-profit businesses to be used as campaigning vehicles. Another idea involves donors banding together in trade associations. Neither type of group is required to disclose their members. In November of last year, the IRS proposed new rules to limit political activity by social-welfare groups, known as 501(c)(4) groups, whose donors can contribute unlimited amounts on an anonymous basis. A 2010 Supreme Court ruling allowed for companies to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates, and these organizations are not required to report their activities to the Federal Election Commission since they are not seeking tax-exempt status. Unlike political action committees (PACs), these groups, such as the Democratic firm Catalist and the GOP group called America Rising, do not have to disclose donors, clients, or spending and can work directly with political campaigns, though they are required to pay taxes on any profits. The taxable, for-profit entities are making it difficult to distinguish political-consulting firms from advocacy groups, experts note, even though companies must be able to demonstrate they have a legitimate business purpose other than campaign activity to avoid being defined by the IRS as a PAC. Many already do, saying they are providing services for a price, such as polling, consulting, and advertising. Meanwhile, political trade associations and charities, known as 501(c)(6) groups, similar to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are also finding ways to raise huge sums on an anonymous basis. The IRS has already hinted it may institute new rules to regulate these types of "business leagues" for their role in campaigning. For more, see

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Social Media Political Trends to Watch in 2014

It's a given that social media will play a role in 2014 politics, but new apps, new players and new trends are already changing the social game learned in 2012. A Social Media Today post by Jane Susskind, of IVN News, lays out some predictions to help guide campaigns' social media planning. While Facebook and Twitter dominated political campaigning in 2012, watch for Google Plus to take a bigger role this year, she predicts. Not only is Google Plus now the second largest social network in the world, it will be running Google Plus ads on the Google Display Network, which includes over 2 million sites, making it more appealing for political ads. Those chasing the youth vote turned to Facebook in 2012, but recent studies show that young adults are leaving Facebook for social networks such as Instagram and Vine, Susskind reports. No wonder trendsetters Sen. Cory Booker and Gov. Chris Christie have been showcasing their expertise on Instagram. Clearly, pictures will matter as much or more than words in 2014 social media. Posts that include photo albums receive 180% more engagement than the average post, and Barack Obama's most popular tweet was a photo of him with Michelle, notes Susskind. So campaign strategists should start coming up with visual impact as well as slogans. That includes videos, especially micro-videos. Twitter’s Vine and Facebook’s Instagram, both limiting videos to 15 seconds or under, are examples of networks that could be used by politicians for quick, real-time connections, as opposed to long-form TV ads. And some social media vehicles that worked well in 2012 will work even better in 2014, predicts Susskind. Take Twitter as an example. As of November 2013, one in 10 Americans got their news from Twitter, she points out, and Twitter continues to offer politicians a way to get the word out, react quickly to events and attacks, and generate real-time response from a growing crowd of followers. For the complete post, go to http://socialmediatoday.com/jane-susskind/2030916/5-ways-social-media-will-change-political-campaigns-2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Three-Quarters of States Now Under Single-Party Control

Three-quarters of the states, more than at any time in recent memory, are now governed by one party, either Republican or Democrat, according to a new report in The Washington Post. And the 37 single-party states are now moving in opposite directions based on their differing party ideologies, the Post reports. The 23 Republican-run states, where the GOP holds the governorship and has majorities in both legislative chambers, are championing economic and fiscal strategies of lower taxes, spending cuts and less regulation. Many have declined to set up state health-insurance exchanges to implement the Affordable Care Act. The "Red States" are also clashing with unions and pushing a conservative social agenda to restrict abortion or enact voter-identification laws. Meanwhile, the Democrats have full control of 14 states, and while budget squeezes have them embracing budget cuts, too, many Democrat-run states have also raised taxes to pay for education and infrastructure. These "Blue States" generally back the Affordable Care Act and are moving on a liberal social agenda, including legalizing same sex marriages and easing access to voting. That leaves 12 states where power is divided between Republican and Democrat forces, plus Nebraska (which has a nonpartisan unicameral legislature and a Republican governor). On the question of which party's approach generates the best results for a state, the data is inconclusive, but single-party control does have one clear value: Political consensus is allowing the single-party state governments to avoid the gridlock, bickering and inaction of the divided national government. For more, see the Washington Post article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/red-blue-states-move-in-opposite-directions-in-a-new-era-of-single-party-control/2013/12/28/9583d922-673a-11e3-ae56-22de072140a2_story.html