Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are buying advertising time in swing states in the final weeks before the presidential election, but Trump's buys cost him more, because his Democratic opponent bought hers earlier, according to The Wall Street Journal.
For example, on a local NBC TV station in Florida, Clinton paid $770 to advertise a 30-second commercial during the TV show "Timeless." Trump paid $300 more for his ad on the same show. On that same station, an ad during the show "Chicago P.D." cost Clinton $550, and Trump paid $770.
The station's vice president of sales Bob Beville returned the difference to the Trump campaign after it contacted him. Candidates are entitled to pay the lowest unit rate in the run-up to an election, the Journal reported.
Beville said that Clinton got a better price because she booked the ad time on Aug. 26, a month before Trump's campaign booked his. Clinton paid $27,000 for 96 spots and Trump paid the same amount to get 83 spots.
The Journal reviewed FCC filings and found that Trump books closer to the time the advertisements will air. Trump has used several advertising agencies. His current agency has been on the job for him since mid-September.
"It's their strategy. I don't second-guess them," Beville told the WSJ.
The Trump campaign saves its ad buyers time by paying rates at which ads are most likely to air, rather than paying more later to ensure ads air in certain markets, like Clinton has sometimes done.
Clinton has spent more and started earlier in her advertising. Her ads began airing in battleground states two months ahead of Trump's. Clinton's campaign and super PACs have spent $325 million in ad time, while Trump and his super PACs have booked $78 million, the Journal reported.
Ad buyers say that more expensive ads in better time slots get more viewers, for example, during NBC's "Sunday Night Football."
The Republican National Committee has spent no money on TV ads supporting Trump. Former RNC political director Curt Anderson told Politico that the RNC's lack of spending is having "serious and negative effect" on Trump's campaign.
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