Price for a 30-second primetime political advertisement on Georgia's two leading television stations, Rustavi 2 and Imedi, varies from USD 6,000 to maximum USD 16,000 ahead of the May 30 local elections.
UEFA Champions League's semifinal this month and a final next month leads the pack in terms of cost - USD 16,000 per 30 second ad - on Rustavi 2 TV, followed by USD 13,000 for a 30 second slot in 9pm news program Kurieri and USD 12,000 in weekly Kurieri P.S. Late evening comedy and entertainment shows follow with USD 10,000.
Price of political ad in Rustavi 2 TV is ten times more than price of a standard commercial on the same television station.
Rustavi 2 TV, which is the most watched Georgian broadcaster, claims it accounts up to 60% of Georgia's overall TV ad market.
A hugely popular Georgian TV comedy series, Shua Kalakshi, leads the pack on Imedi TV with USD 15,000 per 30 seconds, followed by other entertainment and comedy shows with price varying from USD 10,000 to 11,000. 30 second of political ad in Imedi TV's 8pm news bulleting, Kronika, costs USD 10,000.
According to the law ‘qualified’ political parties (as election code describes them) – those that won at least 4% of the vote in the last parliamentary elections and at least 3% of the vote in the last local elections – must be granted 30 seconds of free airtime for every hour by private television stations and 60 seconds by the public broadcaster. Opposition candidates running for Tbilisi mayor are currently using this free airtime for political ads. The ruling party has yet to formally nominate its mayoral candidate - incumbent mayor Gigi Ugulava is expected to run for re-election.