The Conservative and Labour Parties have booked 7.5m worth of poster space in the first quarter of next year, making it almost impossible to book high quality packages in March and April.
The two Maiden Flagship packages of 500 sites each, Mills & Allen’s two Headlight packages of 500 sites and More O’Ferrall’s two “270” packages of 500 sites are totally booked in April and almost fully booked in March.
Each of the six packages sold cost around 250,000 per fortnight as they are illuminated and are in prime positions.
Political parties are forced to pay ratecard for poster space in the run-up to an election because they have no choice about the timing of their campaigns.
The demand from the political parties is causing a squeeze in the 48-sheet market. Channel 5 is due to launch at the end of March and is likely to make extensive use of posters for its launch.
The Conservatives have booked 5m of space from January into May, although some of the space will have to be cancelled. John Major has said the election may be called any time up to May 1.
The Labour Party has between 2.5m and 3m to spend, which is more than in previous elections.
The Conservative Party has been forced to book its space in its own name for this election following a decision by the main contractors not to post ads booked under false names.
Adshel, More O’Ferrall’s bus shelter medium, is not allowed to take political space because of its relationship with local authorities, and is looking to make a killing as 48-sheets are booked up.