Through March, the campaigns of the five leading presidential candidates, including the current president, placed over 65,000 ads on local broadcast outlets -- broadcast TV, radio and cable -- with broadcast spot TV the overwhelmingly the top choice (almost 75% of the total), followed by local/regional cable.
That is according to Nielsen's latest accounting.
Mitt Romney was the big spender, accounting for 57% of the total, compared with 32% for the other three Republican contenders -- Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul -- and 11% for President Obama. The president spent the greatest percentage of his dollars (over 83.2%) on spot TV, with Gingrich second at 78.8%, Paul at 76.2%, Romney at 75.1% and Santorum at 59.1%.
Romney's campaign places 37,581 ad units, more than four times that of Obama's 7,388, so the presumptive GOP candidate was by far the biggest spender in local TV. Santorum spent the greatest percentage on local/regional cable (34.2%), but only allocated 9,241 ad units, so at 13.1% of 37,581 units, Romney was the biggest spender in local/regional cable, too.
The highest number of ads ran in South Carolina, Florida and Michigan, but Seattle was the only market that drew TV and radio dollars from all five candidates during the first quarter.