The One Industry That Welcomes Obamacare: TV

Thursday, 15 Aug 2013 10:28 AM

By Courtney Coren

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At least one major industry is welcoming the introduction of Obamacare.

TV bosses are expecting a $2 billion advertising bonanza as insurance companies jostle for customers once the Affordable Healthcare Act ramps up.

The huge campaigns are likely over the next two years, The Wall Street Journal reports, as companies make their pitch to consumers, who will be required to be insured on Jan. 1.

The television industry forecasts that the companies will spend as much as $1 billion, with some $700 million going to local markets.

"Fundamentally it's going to be a competition for consumers that will be fought locally, not nationally," said Dave Lougee, president of Gannett's broadcasting division.

Adding to the TV station's coffers are states, such as California, Illinois, and Colorado, which already have begun promoting their online insurance exchanges, that will begin Oct. 1, as well as the mandatory nature of the health care law.

And Obamacare opponents show no sign of letting up, either, in their effort to garner support for candidates who continue to oppose healthcare reform. About $500 million already has been put into political advocacy surrounding the health carelaw since 2010, and it is projected that it could reach $1 billion by 2015, the Journal says.

"We are seeing a steady stream of political and advocacy ads that are critical of the law," said Elizabeth Wilner, vice president of a Kantar Media unit that tracts spending on political ads. "What we aren't seeing yet is a countering stream of ads that support the law."

Under the law, most Americans will be required to have health insurance, with fines for those who don't comply and subsidies for low income households and individuals who can't afford it.

The spending on political ads could offset the revenue decrease in advertising dollars usually seen in non-election years, one analyst predicts.

"To the extent you can offset some of that, it's a big deal," UBS analyst John Janedis said.

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