Trevor Noah and ‘Daily Show’ Are Latest To Strike Chord For Late-Night Ads

Trevor Noah is playing a tune that even Apple Music needed to hear.

While Ryan Adams last Thursday on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” played the reinterpretations of Taylor Swift songs that have in recent weeks garnered him a lot of attention,  a promotional banner from Apple Music unfurled at the bottom of the screen telling viewers to use its service to check out Adams’ covers and Swift’s originals. After the musical segment ended, the first ad to play was from Apple.

Music is expected to get more emphasis during Noah’s run on “The Daily Show,” and perhaps the ability to tie performance segments to pitches from Madison Avenue is among the reasons why. Across TV’s late-night offerings, the networks are devising more roosts – in the shows themselves – upon which advertisers can sit.

Apple’s appearance during Ryan Adams performance,the first musical segment on the show since Noah took the reins from Jon Stewart , “is part of a media-driven partnership between Viacom and Apple,” said Chris Ficarra, a senior vice president of integrated marketing at Viacom who oversees such efforts at Comedy Central. “We are thrilled they decided to participate in Trevor’s first music performance especially with such a unique guest in Ryan Adam’s performing his interpretation of Taylor Swift songs.” Apple did not respond to an email query seeking comment.

Since Jimmy Kimmel embraced the notion of doing live ads during his late-night program on ABC, the various wee-hours shows have quickly moved to find new ways of bringing sponsors into the segments of their shows. At CBS, where its two late-night programs are no longer under the ownership of David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company, recent moves have been striking. A bar sponsored by Anheuser-Busch InBev is a regular part of the proceedings on James Corden’s “The Late Late Show.” And Stephen Colbert raised eyebrows by giving Sabra Dipping Co’s red-pepper hummus a presence in a segment during his debut turn behind the desk on “The Late Show.”

Others are also giving advertisers new entry. Jimmy Fallon has done a handful of segments sponsored by General Electric in which he talks to kids who have crafted intriguing inventions. Conan O’Brien has shown off fancy camerawork and broadcast technology involving AT&T.

Tucking ad messages into late-night programming has become more critical in recent years. As fans of the shows grow more accustomed to viewing segments of the sleepy-time shows on YouTube or in viral fashion, rather than between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., they typically watch fewer of the commercial that accompany the programs’ linear broadcasts. Sometimes, they see none. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke earlier this year noted 70% of the views for NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” came from digital media, most of which were not being monetized at the time.

At Comedy Central, the Ryan Adams performance may have helped build a new tie with what has been an important client. Apple in 2014 was the biggest spender on advertising accompanying “The Daily Show, according to data from Kantar Media, a tracker of ad spending. In the first six months of 2015, however, Apple hasn’t spent as much, having been surpassed by T-Mobile, Verizon, Warner Brothers and Mercedes-Benz.

Will Apple tune in to more of Trevor Noah’s “Daily Show” sounds? Ficarra, the Viacom executive, declined to offer specifics of the pact between Viacom and the consumer-electronics giant.

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