Who Will Buy 'Arsenio'?

Advertisers say new late-night show is efficient entry in crowded landscape
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As a new entry in the late-night field, prices for ads on CTD’s The Arsenio Hall Show will start out less expensive on a cost-perthousand viewers (CPM) basis than the competition on broadcast and cable, according to media buyers. “It’s going to be at the lower end of the spectrum,” says Dave Campanelli, senior VP, director of national broadcast at Horizon Media, and appears to be aimed at a fairly broad slice of the late-night audience.

Industry sources estimate those household CPMs to be in the $10- $15 range.

Campanelli says Hall is jumping into a crowded daypart. “He has history there,” Campanelli says, adding, “I wonder this many years later how relevant he’s still going to be, but he’s a safer bet than going with someone new. A brand name helps.”

As a buyer, Campanelli likes having an expanded set of programs from which to choose. During negotiations, ratings expectations were reasonable, and should be helped by a number of 11 p.m. clearances. “We’re hoping it succeeds,” he says.

Jackie Kulesza, senior VP and broadcast activation director at Starcom USA, says advertiser demand for late night is up. “It has original content, it’s very popculture oriented and the hosts are doing skits that can go viral,” she says. On top of that, “there are a number of new things to be excited about, with Jimmy Kimmel’s ratings growing since he moved to 11:30 and Fallon coming to the Tonight Show.”

Campanelli says that Kimmel has been a success in terms of ratings and advertiser demand. “It’s definitely a place advertisers want to be, versus Nightline,” he says. ABC went to Kimmel because more advertisers prefer to be in entertainment and Kimmel brings in younger viewers.

The Kimmel move was one factor that led NBC to set in motion the plan to replace Jay Leno with Jimmy Fallon. For advertisers, “Fallon should be an easier sell,” he says. Despite top ratings, “Leno was never a sexy alternative.”

Meanwhile, buyers say NBC is getting upfront price increases for year-long Tonight Show packages that include both Leno and Fallon as host.

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