×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV’s Trump Effect: Advertisers Focus on News, Late-Night Buys Ahead of Primetime (EXCLUSIVE)

President Donald Trump has roiled everything from national politics to environmental policy. Now he could be reworking the norms of TV advertising.

Advertisers are lining up in TV’s upfront negotiations to make advance commitments in news and late-night programs that are focused on the nation’s current stormy, politics-driven news cycle. In some cases, advertisers are chasing these shows even ahead of primetime fare, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions. These people say programs including “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and others are getting more emphasis from Madison Avenue than in previous years.

There is a “Trump carryover effect,” said one media buying executive with knowledge of current talks.

U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming programming cycle as part of the industry’s annual upfront discussions.  In 2016, the nation’s five big English-language broadcast networks secured between $8.41 billion and $9.25 billion in advance ad commitments for primetime, according to Variety estimates, marking the first time in three years they managed to break the $9 billion mark. In 2017, however, there have been lingering questions as to whether the market for TV-advertising is cooling.

To be sure, late-night has experienced higher-than-usual demand from advertisers for several cycles. But the current push, buyers and other executives suggested, adds news to the mix and takes place before many agencies have negotiated substantial deals for primetime TV. In a typical upfront process, discussions around primetime buys usually take up the bulk of early haggling. Advertisers may sense the opportunity to put their commercials in front of a big audience at a price significantly less than the cost of a 3o-second ad in primetime fare like NBC’s “This Is Us” or CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.”

What’s behind the surge? Media-buying executives suggest both consumer-packaged goods companies like Procter & Gamble as well as pharmaceutical manufacturers are sparking the dynamic. Pharmaceutical companies have long flocked to TV-news shows in both morning and evening time slots.

News of the negotiations surface as most of the media companies have written some upfront business for the 2017-18 season. CBS, NBCUniversal, ABC, the CW, Fox Networks Group, Discovery Communications, Viacom and Time Warner’s Turner are all engaged in active conversations with buyers.

The broadcasters have pressed in many cases for  CPM rate increases in the high-single-digit percentage to low double-digit percentage range, buying executives said, though advertisers have in most cases attempted to resist paying the high end. Cable networks have tried to tuck underneath the range that broadcasters are perceived to be betting.

It remains unclear whether the demand for the non-primetime programming has made its way over to cable. One buyer suggested CNN and Fox News Channel had yet to finalize a majority of deals, while another said the pharmaceutical surge had translated to demand for cable news. MSNBC is part of NBCUniversal, which has in recent years worked to sell advertisers broader packages of ad inventory across the company’s portfolio.

The networks have certainly proven willing in recent years to bring advertisers deeper into news programs and late-night shows. CNN has allowed sponsors like KPMG and Epix to run extra-long ads that look a lot like some of its programming. All of the networks, meanwhile, have allowed advertisers to buy perches in late-night segments that give them direct interaction with Fallon, Colbert, Kimmel and others. James Corden, host of CBS’ “Late Late Show,” works with an on-set bar that features beer from Heineken.  As advertisers ponder digital and social media, they seem to be drinking from different glasses as they ponder how to pay for TV commercials.

More TV

  • Rocko's Modern Life reboot

    Nickelodeon and Netflix Ink New Multi-Year Output Deal for Original Animated Features, Shows

    In an expansion of their relationship, Netflix and Nickelodeon have formed a new multi-year output deal to produce original animated features and television series, based on both existing Nickelodeon characters as well as brand-new ones. The Viacom-owned kids content producer has previously brought to life “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling” and “Invader Zim: Enter the [...]

  • bravo-pepsi-sparkling-rose

    Bravo Fans Get First Taste of Pepsi Champagne as NBCU Lures Madison Ave. to New Events

    NBCUniversal is best known among advertisers for selling TV commercials. Now the media giant wants to burnish its reputation for selling something that is only tangentially related to the TV screen. People who signed up for the company’s “BravoCon 2019” fan event, slated to take place between November 15 and November 17 in New York [...]

  • Rob Lowe TCA

    Rob Lowe's British Cop Series ‘Wild Bill’ Axed by ITV

    Rob Lowe’s fish-out-of-water British cop show “Wild Bill” will not get a second season. Despite the pull of big-name U.S. talent, the series failed to set ratings alight in the U.K. and garnered mixed reviews. British broadcaster ITV said Wednesday that the show will not be coming back. The series saw “West Wing” star Lowe [...]

  • Jan Guillou's 'The Great Century' Being

    Jan Guillou's 'The Great Century' Being Adapted as Epic Drama Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    “The Great Century” is being adapted as an epic drama series by Dramacorp-Pampas Studios, which has landed the rights to Swedish author Jan Guillou’s book series. Guillou is known for his “Hamilton” spy-thriller novels, which Dramacorp-Pampas Studios has brought to TV as “Agent Hamilton.” That project had an international premiere at Mipcom and has presold [...]

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Variety to Honor Jax Media Chiefs Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns at New Leaders Event

    Emmy Award-winning producer Tony Hernandez and Emmy-nominated producer Lilly Burns will receive the Creative Leadership Award on behalf of Jax Media at the Variety New Leaders event presented by City National Bank, taking place Nov. 14 in New York City. As founders of Jax Media, Hernandez and Burns have produced shows and specials such as [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Virginia Leith, Female Lead in Stanley Kubrick's First Film, Dies at 94

    Actress and model Virginia Leith, who starred in Stanley Kubrick’s first film “Fear and Desire,” which he later disavowed, has died. She was 94. According to family spokesperson Jane Chalmers, Leith died after a brief illness at her home in Palm Springs, Calif. on Nov. 4. Born on Oct. 15, 1925, Leith met Kubrick in [...]

  • Friends

    'Friends' Reunion Special in Early Planning Stages at HBO Max

    More “Friends” could well be there for you when the HBO Max rain starts to fall. An unscripted “Friends” reunion special is in the works at the forthcoming WarnerMedia streamer, Variety has confirmed with sources. Sources say original cast members Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer are in discussions [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content