At least one small slice of the American public looks forward to the non-stop, sleazy political advertisements set to inundate viewers during the 2016 elections: media executives and their investors.
Peter Liguori, the chief executive of Tribune Company, said earlier this month that the next presidential campaign presents “enormous opportunity” for advertising sales. Speaking at a conference hosted by J.P. Morgan Chase, Liguori, whose company owns television stations and a number of newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, referenced Super PAC spending as a key factor for why he thinks Tribune Co. political advertising revenue will rocket from $115 million in 2012 to about $200 million for the 2016 campaign cycle.
Vince Sadusky, the chief executive of Media General, the parent company of 71 television stations across the country, told investors in February that his company is positioned to benefit from unlimited campaign spending, referencing decisions by the Supreme Court. “We are really looking forward to the 2016 elections with spending on the presidential race alone estimated to surpass $5 billion,” Sadusky said, according to a transcript of his remarks.
In 2012, Les Moonves, president and chief executive of CBS, memorably said, “Super PACs may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.”
His views appear unchanged. In a February investor call, Moonves predicted “strong growth with the help of political spending,” particularly on television. He added dryly, “looking ahead, the 2016 presidential election is right around the corner and, thank God, the rancor has already begun.”