Advertisers may leave TV shows because of content issues from time to time. But changes in media spending typically don’t impact a network’s overall picture. What would?
Recently, Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” witnessed around a dozen or more advertiser departures in response to remarks he made that immigrants coming to the U.S. leave the country “poorer” and “dirtier.”
Insurance company Pacific Life, athletic equipment maker Bowflex, job site Indeed.com and a number of others have split. But others are staying. Pharma company Bayer, which is staying, noted in The Hollywood Reporter:
“Given the wide diversity of media today and wide range of public opinion on any given issue, it would be an impossible task to find a major television or radio network whose entire programming schedule appeals to all audiences. While our programming environment choices may not always be supported by all individuals, we have very specific guidelines to ensure our commercials air in acceptable content...”
OK -- so the “task” is impossible, yet the quest remains for “acceptable” content.
TV marketers have their own secret sauce in coming up with this formula. In the old days, big ad departures caused more disruption, since there were only a handful of TV networks with top-rated shows that TV marketers had to have.
Any advertiser may pull money from one specific show, due to content it doesn’t like. But a network usually keeps that spend, moving it to other shows. Today, those efforts help more hard-pressed marketers that have far more media channels to monitor.
Typically, TV news viewers are older — a perfect audience for pharmaceutical marketers. The positive is that Bayer — including older-skewing companies, such as investment/stock market companies — have more choices, especially as a wide range of TV cable news networks record rare TV viewership growth.
Here are some bottom-line numbers: Fox says “Tucker Carlson Tonight” is the third-most-watched program of 2018 in total viewers -- 2.8 million Nielsen total viewers and 557,000 in the 25-54 demo. Advertising revenues are $197.5 million from December 2017 to December 2018, according to iSpot.tv.
Top advertisers over the period include Jenny Craig (240 airings, $5.3 million in spend); Progressive Insurance (307 airings, $4.4 million); Liberty Mutual, (368 airings, $4 million); Mitsubishi (269 airings, $3.1 million); Subaru (164 airings, $3 million); and Otezla (63 airings, $2.5 million).
What would really change things for “Carlson” is what always shakes up a TV show: fewer eyes and ears.