The price for "pre-roll" advertising -- the short ads you have to watch before featured videos roll for you at, and other popular Web sites -- has doubled, to $45 to $50 per 1,000 online views, from $20-25 six months ago, says Rich Masterson, cofounder of Fort Washington-based online political ad consultant CampaignGrid, Fort Washington.

The new price is also five times the under-$10-per-thousand that Masterson's partner, Jeff Dittus, quoted me in the 2010 race.   

"Obama was a new-media candidate. Now we're seeing both parties embracing that new technology, and 2012 is shaping up as the new-media-parties' election," Masterson told me. 

Thank, not just the spread of wireless Internet and ad technology, but especially the Supreme Court and its partisan Citizens United decision that eased campaign spending limits, inflating polical spending and rates.
"On the large scale we're seeing a lot of impact from Citizens United and the SuperPACS," billionaire-funded groups that buy political ads to push favored candidates and beat up rivals, Masterson told me. "The political community has really embraced online video," which is now "sold on an auction basis, like pork bellies."
It's selling quickly. Already on popular networks, in battleground states, "they're making early buys for October and November. We're seeing video disappear for (the) two weeks before the election." Masterson's talking about places like Florida and Ohio, also Pennsylvania, where Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is up for re-election and Presidential delegates are up for grabs. And Delaware, where the Democrats have to defend both a Senator and a Governor.
The contentious GOP Presidential primaries kept CampaignGrid busy: "We've worked with Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann, a little bit of analytics work for Rick Santorum, and for the SuperPACs backing Romney." Though there hasn't been a lot of spillover into state primary campaigns; the busy Republican field challenging Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has done relatively little online, Masterson acknowledges.
But for the general elections this fall, Masterson expects "a terrific year" for local races, building on 2010. CampaignGrid is hiring (staff is currently 30 at the Montgomery County headquarters, plus a smaller Capitol Hill satellite office): "We're looking for programmers and digital strategists right now. It's difficult because the online ad business, unlike the print newspaper business, is booming."