Controversial Fox News' 'Carlson' Sees Fewer Advertisers, Higher Unit Costs

During the time when controversial remarks were made by its host, Fox News Channel’s "Tucker Carlson Tonight" show has seen a sharp drop in the average paid advertising time per episode — but a significantly higher unit cost per 30-second commercial — according to media research companies.

In the second quarter of this year, Kantar Media says the average time per episode for the hour-long show was 6 minutes/40 seconds, which followed the first quarter’s average time of 6 minutes/12 seconds.

This is sharply lower versus the two previous periods — an average 8 minutes/26 seconds in the fourth-quarter 2018 and 8 minutes/54 seconds in third-quarter 2018.



In addition, there has been a substantial decline in the number of paid TV advertisers on the show — 107 paid advertisers in the second quarter, and 118 in the first quarter. This compares to two previous quarters — where there were 253 advertisers (fourth-quarter 2018) and 223 marketers (third-quarter 2018).

The top five advertisers during the second quarter were My Pillow, Sunsetter, Sandals Resorts, Coventry Direct, and Zona Plus.

However, media research company SQAD says these drops did not affect individual national 30-second commercial pricing, which has more than doubled versus a year ago to $21,878 (July 2019), and $19,908 (June 2019) from a year ago, when it was $11,099 (July 2018) and $12,782 (August 2018).

In a two-month period — April 2019 to March 2019 — the “Carlson” show jumped to an average $21,342 per unit from $12,445.

By way of comparison to other cable TV network prime-time shows, MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” grew to $10,444 (July 2019) from $8,292 (July 2018). Another Fox News show, “The Ingraham Angle,” was up to $14,620 from $12,065 over the same period.

Recently Carlson, who has been subject to a number of advertiser boycotts from public groups and TV marketers departing the show over the last few months, has said the white supremacy issue is a “hoax” and a “conspiracy theory.”  In December, Carlson said immigrants make the country "poorer and dirtier," which also resulted in boycotts.

Back in May, Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman-CEO of Fox Corp. said advertiser boycotts for specific Fox News Channel shows are having no effect on its overall advertising revenue.

"The boycotts themselves are not having a financial impact of any significance," said Murdoch, at an industry conference in New York.

Analysts say Fox News Channel advertisers, including those on the “Carlson” show, shift their commercial media to other programs on the network when it comes to specific controversial occurrences.

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