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CBS, other broadcasters will benefit from Supreme Court ruling on political ads

January 25, 2010 | 11:47 am

Corporate America wasn't the only one cheering the Supreme Court decision last week to toss out a rule that barred corporations from using their own money to pay for political spots. Big media also has reason to break out the bubbly.

Among those with the most to gain from the high court ruling is CBS. The network has TV stations that reach almost 40% of the country, and those stations could receive as much as $50 million in political advertising as a result of the ruling, according to Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin. She estimated that in the 2006 mid-term elections, CBS pulled in $160 million in political advertising.

News Corp.'s Fox, which owns stations reaching close to 40% of the United States, also has reason to smile. And yet, when it comes to political advertising -- unlike everything else -- having an older audience is a positive. CBS skews older than Fox, and most political advertising targets people over the age of 40.

Local radio could see a spurt in political advertising from the ruling, which would also be good news for CBS as well as Clear Channel, two of the biggest radio owners in the country. Cable operators will also get some new political money but to a lesser degree.

-- Joe Flint