By Ruthy Munoz
(Reuters) – Republican Donald Trump, a former reality TV star, has yet to spend a dime on television advertising for his White House campaign against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who has spent $52 million, NBC News said on Tuesday.
Adding the money laid out by outside groups supporting the candidates, the Clinton camp has spent $91 million on ads versus $8 million by Trump and his supporters, NBC News said.
“Nearly $100 million has been spent on general-election TV advertisements in the presidential race since the primary season ended, but Donald Trump’s campaign still hasn’t spent a single cent on one of them,” it said.
One group supporting Trump – the Rebuilding America Now PAC led by Florida Governor Rick Scott – said it was rolling out an anti-Clinton ad on cable and local television stations in Ohio, Florida and North Carolina this week.
While the New York businessman has not bought ads on ABC, CBS or NBC, which aired his reality show “The Apprentice,” he has successfully used social media to reach the masses.
He frequently posts to his Facebook page and on Twitter, and posts in turn are liked and shared countless times, earning Trump a free form of advertising.
A study by media analytics firm mediaQuant placing monetary values on social media mentions estimates Trump is benefiting from about $2 billion in free media so far. That figure is expected to rise to $5 billion by the Nov. 8 election.
Clinton, too, has made gains in social media with 72 million mentions in July, pulling up with Trump in earned media after trailing him for the last eight months, mediaQuant said.
The former secretary of state led Trump by more than 7 percentage points in a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Ruthy Munoz; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Jonathan Oatis)