Editor’s note: Joe Naiman is a veteran newsman of many years’ experience who has written for just about every publication in North County and more over the years.
San Diego State University football has been postponed at least until spring 2021. That means I won’t be watching any Aztecs games on television during 2020. That means I won’t be watching any political advertisements during San Diego State games.
I’m old enough to have driven during the national 55 mph speed limit, so I understand Colin Kaepernick’s frustration with cops and the national government and I’m not boycotting the National Football League. However, I do not have enough interest in any NFL team to spend three hours watching a professional football game. If I’m at a restaurant or bar and the television has a National Football League game I will watch, but my scheduled activities don’t specifically include watching professional football.
Due to the coronavirus shutdowns I haven’t been to a bar since March. I haven’t been to a restaurant with a television set on since March. I do not expect to watch any National Football League action during 2020, which means I won’t be watching any political commercials during NFL games.
San Diego County also does not have any National Basketball Association teams, so I only watch NBA games in a restaurant or bar. I will not be doing that for a while, so I won’t be seeing those commercials.
Sports bars with multiple television sets find an enhanced cable package with specialized sports channels to be financially worthwhile, which is not necessarily the case with individual consumers. Sports bars may also deem the patronage garnered from a pay per view event to merit the cost. The shutdown of bars eliminates that viewership and thus the audience for political advertisements.
In a way, the shutdown has been nice for me because I can call into meetings instead of traveling into San Diego to attend them in person. That means I’m not listening to the car radio during drive time. I’m also not listening to the car radio when I stay home instead of making other trips. That means I’m not listening to political commercials even if I don’t change the station button.
I haven’t watched additional television, including computer-based shows, since the shutdown. I’ve been catching up on my reading and I’ve used some of the additional spare time to enjoy the birds in my yard. Nobody has figured out how to cause a flock of birds to fly in formation to display a political or other advertising message. The lead time for monthly magazines may make political advertising unfeasible, and if I’m catching up on my magazine reading any political advertising may be for an election which has already occurred. For non-political print advertising the reading delay is actually an advantage, because the advertising can be seen long after the publication.
Print advertising in newspapers or magazines published more than once a month has a shorter lead time between the decision to advertise and the time the viewer reads the ad. With fewer television events to view print media advertising has become more important during the coronavirus shutdown. This is especially true for political advertising which requires a consumer decision shortly after the ad is seen. Political campaigns will need to compensate for the loss of television viewing by increased advertising in print media.