April 26, 2016
Updated July 29, 2016
Why does Ted Cruz love The Sound of Music and Hillary Clinton favor Jerry Springer more than other presidential candidates? Data journalists Chris Wilson and Pratheek Rebala of Time.com dig into Political TV Ad Archive data to help readers learn about why.
Their interactive app on the Time.com website allows viewers to drill down to see which TV programs are favored by which candidates. They write:
While popular shows like Today and Good Morning America are the overarching favorites for virtually every candidate, the ad archive also contains numerous examples of campaigns or their affiliated super PACs running spots on shows with less competition. In addition to Jerry Springer, for example, the Clinton campaign has run a majority of the political ads on The Steve Wilkos Show, The Wendy Williams Show, TMZ Live andMaury.
They also interview experts to find out how political campaigns and outside groups spending on elections make their choices:
“It’s harder to find good opportunities once you put a lot of money on the table,” says Mitchell Lovett, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Rochester. In a paper that Lovett co-authored with Michael Peress of SUNY-Stony Brook studying the optimal allocation of TV spending for political campaigns, they suggest that “candidates could improve by more heavily targeting the most effective, cheapest programs and by targeting a smaller number of shows with very high turnout rates.”
To view the app, visit the Time.com website here. The writers from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon must have–Fallon did this segment on April 28 quoting the statistic of nearly 50 airings of ads favoring Ted Cruz on reruns of The Sound of Music Live. The piece also features a montage of Cruz quotes making up the words (sort of) to “My Favorite Things.”
This project by Time is just the most recent demonstration of creative ways of using the metadata collected by the Political TV Ad Archive while tracking ads in key 2016 election markets. A March 2016 story by Fusion also plumbed information on TV program names, combining it with information from Nielsen, which tracks ratings and demographics, to ask similar questions. And in 2014, Kalev Leetaru built an interactive visual tool allowing users to dive into data collected in a pilot project tracking ads in the mid-term elections, filtering by candidate, channel, ad sponsor and more.
Edited April 27, 2016, to add last paragraph; again April 29 to include clip from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.