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TV networks boast ratings from uncouth presidential race, but is social media more influential?
Even in an exciting election season giving network and cable TV networks a ratings boost, TV is faltering in its influence in American political promotion. - photo by Chandra Johnson
There's no doubt the 2016 election coverage has boosted ratings for many TV news outlets.

As a CBS chairman said in February, "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS," referring specifically to the network's coverage of Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Yet many, including The Atlantic, have argued that campaign ads TV's tried-and-true political influencer simply aren't working like they used to.

"Conventional wisdom would say that the candidate with the most money would buy the most ads and the candidate with the most ads would get the most votes," the Atlantic reported in a video feature on campaign advertising.

The exception to this wisdom, of course, is Trump, who spent a fraction of former competitor Jeb Bush's $80 million on TV ads alone before dropping out of the race in February. And in an election season that will see an estimated $4.4 billion spent on political TV advertising, advertising has done little, The Atlantic argued, to stop Trump's meteoric rise.

The reasons for this are complex, but they boil down to one truth: Social media is rising to overshadow the influence TV ads once had in political races.

Look no further than Trump's Twitter feed, which is carefully monitored and reported on by TV news outlets.

"You could argue that (Trump's) tweets are as good as ads they're news events," The Atlantic reported.

Or there's a recent report from YouTube, which found that YouTube accounted for 110 million hours of candidate-related and other political coverage, Wired reported not to mention the growth the network experienced from advertising on such videos.

But TV networks and other media shouldn't sweat the change just yet. Super PACs are raising exorbitant amounts of money for campaigns, but they're very limited in how they can spend it, and TV ads are a major allowable budget item, The Atlantic reported.

"(Super PACs) might as well exhaust their bank reserves before this election is over," The Atlantic reported. "You might as well, in a race as tight as this, take every (advantage) you can."
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