What ABC will gain from Kimmel move: $
Host's ad dollars grew 22 percent last year. Bet it will go up more.
August 23, 2012
When ABC moves "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" to the 11:35 p.m. timeslot in January, swapping it in for "Nightline," it stands to lose a slew of viewers in the timeslot.
What it stands to gain is a lot more valuable to the network: a great bump in advertising revenue.
Despite "Nightline's" rise to No. 1 in total viewers in recent years, ABC has struggled to monetize the show, with ad sales for the half-hour program well below the two shows it competes with and regularly beats, NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and CBS's "The Late Show with David Letterman."
"ABC stands to make more with Kimmel in the hour than they did with 'Nightline,'" one media buyer tells Media Life.
"He will have more appeal to young men than Leno or Letterman, and he'll draw more younger viewers as a whole."
The numbers certainly back up ABC's decision.
Kimmel's show saw a 22 percent increase in ad revenue last year, to $100 million from $82 million in 2010, according to Kantar Media.
"Nightline," which runs just 25 minutes to Kimmel's 60 minutes, took in $40.2 million in advertising last year.
Presumably "Kimmel" will make even more money in the more desirable earlier timeslot.
There has been greater demand from advertisers for the show with Kimmel's increased visibility and the show's growing viewership.
Two years ago ABC changed "Kimmel's" start time from 12:05 a.m. to midnight, hoping to draw in more viewers at the top of the hour and give the show more of a jump on its 12:35 a.m. competition.
This past season it was the only late or late-late show to grow among total viewers, to 1.8 million, or 2 million fewer than "Nightline" averaged.
And Kimmel himself has been quietly gaining stature with hosting gigs at the White House Correspondents Dinner, where he got good reviews in April, and the Emmys, which he'll headline for the first time next month.
It may take a while for ABC to match its rivals in ad sales though.
NBC's "Tonight," which tied "Nightline" for the lead in adults 18-49 in late night this season, brought in just under $160 million last year, while "Late" earned $154.6 million.
But both "Tonight" and "Late" have been losing viewers, with 600,000 vanishing between them over the past year.
Some have gone to cable, where Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" continue to grow, while other viewers are time-shifting shows earlier in the night and watching them in the 11 p.m. hour.
ABC believes that "Kimmel," which skews younger than Leno or Letterman, can draw some of those viewers back to broadcast, and in doing so increase its ad dollars.
Plus, this sets ABC up for Leno and Letterman's inevitable retirements a few years from now.
"If changes occur down the road at either of the other networks, ABC will already be firmly entrenched with a familiar face," says the buyer.
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