Changing a system that dates back to the dawn of TV, ABC is giving national prime-time ad slots to local stations who'll run political ads

Seeing a record amount of political spending by candidates this election season, ABC has decided to sell national prime-time ad time to local stations, hoping they can use the time to sell ads to local candidates.

Traditionally, local stations sell a fixed number of ads when they broadcast shows supplied by national networks. Quantity and timing of the ad slots is often established in affiliation agreements between the stations. The says the structure of fixed slots for national and local ads dates back to the dawn of TV, when budding national networks sought to stitch together groups of stations to sell national ads.

So this new strategy is a bit unheardof, and seems to indicate ABC thinks it can make more money on prime time with local buys during this busy political season than it could selling the spots to national advertisers.

In fact, ABC is looking at using this approach at other times of the year. The network has seen the aggregate price for the local ads that air on all ABC stations is sometimes higher than the price ABC can get for a single national ad.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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