You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Morning Scramble: Ad Dollars Surged at ‘CBS This Morning’ in 2016

In TV’s scorched-earth morning-TV wars, Madison Avenue is placing more stock in broadcast TV’s third-place show – a signal of growing confidence in CBS’ “CBS This Morning.”

While advertisers continued in 2016 to commit more dollars to the show’s two main rivals – NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” – the ad-revenue take at the CBS show rose more on a percentage basis last year, according to data from Standard Media Index, a New York company that tracks advertising costs and expenditures.

The CBS A.M. show “has probably been under-prized” in recent times, owing to years of the network’s morning programs running in last place, said James Fennessy, chief executive of SMI, in an interview. “They are starting to do a good job of going out and winning some share from their pricier competitors.”

To be certain, NBC and ABC win considerably more money for their eggs-and-toast programs than CBS. According to SMI, NBC’s “Today” won ad revenue of $408 million in 2015, 9.6% more than the $314 million it captured in the prior year. ABC’s “Good Morning America,” meanwhile, saw ad revenue dip last year, down 2.41% to $314 million from $322 million, according to SMI.

But CBS’ surge, albeit off a lower base, is noticeable.  Ad revenue at the morning program, where Toyota has been known to sponsor the show’s 90-second “Eye Opener” video news capsule, rose nearly 15% in 2016, according to SMI, to $127 million from $111 million.  A person familiar with the matter estimates ad revenue for the program may have grown as much as 20%.

Madison Avenue appears encouraged by a recent trend. “CBS This Morning” has been gaining viewers, while its larger counterparts have seen some churn. Season to date as of March 17, “CBS This Morning” has seen a 2% increase in overall viewership, while “GMA’s” total audience has fallen 7% and “Today’s” is off 5%, according to Nielsen.

Advertisers and audiences seem more drawn to morning shows with a harder-news edge in these early days of the Trump administration, noted Fennessy. “There is strength in cable networks in this post-election cycle,” he noted. “Cable news has picked up – not just in the morning, but throughout the day, and there’s an enormous amount of ratings uplift and ad revenue to go along with that.”

Of the three broadcast programs, the CBS option is routinely positioned as focusing on harder news. The show has no resident meteorologist; focuses on business and markets stories more regularly; and rarely features a cooking segment. On Saturdays, however, there are musical performances – typically accompanied by a story about the performers.

CBS touts the show as “clearer” and “smarter” than its rivals, says Marty Daly, senior vice president and director of news and late night sales for CBS.

“Today” and “Good Morning America” are not to be dismissed. Both programs have in recent months streamlined their opening half hours to focus more intently on the news cycle. At “GMA,” co-anchor George Stephanopoulos, also chief anchor at ABC News,  is developing a greater reputation for pressing guests who come on to discuss the latest political developments.  And ABC has retooled the second hour of the show with a live audience. Meanwhile at “Today,” the return of co-anchor Savannah Guthrie from maternity leave lends stability to a program that has streamlined its opening presentation to focus on her, Matt Lauer and the news cycle with fewer distractions.

But the true appeal of the CBS program at present is that it’s significantly cheaper than its competitors, owing to its smaller viewership. Consider that the average price for a 30 second spot in “CBS This Morning” is a mere $17,500, according to SMI. In contrast, a 30-second spot in “Today” goes for around $50,000 and one in “GMA” costs around $40,000.

More TV

  • 'Death Stranding' is a 'Playground of

    'Death Stranding' is a 'Playground of Possibilities,' Will Make You Cry

    The Thursday evening conversation between game-making auteur Hideo Kojima and “Walking Dead” actor Norman Reedus about highly-anticipated PlayStation 4 game “Death Stranding” was filled with interesting anecdotes, but little in the way of hard fact. Instead, Kojima made a promise of sorts to the audience and seemingly fans everywhere waiting for more news on the [...]

  • Ariana Grande Olivia Munn Michael Che

    Celebrities vs. Critics: Why This Battle Has No Winners (Column)

    When actor Olivia Munn tweeted a “short essay on…ugly behaviors” late Wednesday night, she insisted that a blog had been unfairly maligning her for years. She wrote that she wanted to confront the idea that baseless critiques, particularly those aimed at women, are never okay no matter how famous the target may be. On the [...]

  • ‘Peaky Blinders’ Virtual Reality Game in

    ‘Peaky Blinders’ Virtual Reality Game Will Pitch Players Into the Action

    “Peaky Blinders” fans will be able to join the gang – virtually – in a new VR game that will allow players to interact with characters from the hit series. Start-up immersive studio Maze Theory teamed with the show’s producers and is making the game, which will launch in 2020. Artificial intelligence technology means characters [...]

  • TV News Roundup: HBO's 'Deadwood: The

    TV News Roundup: HBO Releases 'Deadwood: The Movie' Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO released the trailer for the “Deadwood” film, and CNN announced a premiere date for “Apollo 11.”  DATES The documentary “Apollo 11” from director/producer Todd Douglas Miller will premiere on CNN Sunday, June 23 at 9 p.m. Using only archival sources, the film captures NASA’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission. FIRST [...]

  • shannon ryan

    Shannon Ryan Joins Disney TV, ABC as Marketing Chief

    Former Fox Television chief marketing officer Shannon Ryan has been tapped as the new president of marketing for ABC Entertainment and Disney Television Studios. The announcement was made by Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, and Craig Hunegs, president of Disney Television Studios, to whom she will report. Rumours had been circling for a while [...]

  • Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce Writers

    Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce First Class of Writers and Mentors for TV Incubator

    Rideback, Dan Lin’s production company, and MRC have announced the inaugural class of writers and mentors for their TV incubator.  The new TV writers residency program, which was launched in February, offers a paid, eight-month residency program to a group of writers who have each previously been staffed on series and want to create their [...]

  • CBS Viacom

    CBS and Viacom Move Closer to Merger Talks

    The CBS Corp. board of directors is moving closer to initiating acquisition discussions with Viacom, according to multiple sources close to the situation. The move has been expected for months, although there may still be obstacles on the road to a reunion for the two sides of the Redstone media empire. Price could still be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content