Advertisers Make New Year’s Plans

New Year’s Eve this year will be brought to you by M&M, General Motors and Michelob.

Those are among the sponsors of late-night specials on Jan. 31. Most viewers will be watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC, which kicks off at 10 p.m. and will be sponsored in part by M&M. Sources said ABC is negotiating with Chevrolet. MTV, which starts its party at 10:30, has deals with General Motors, Pantene, Pepsi and Universal Pictures.

At 11 p.m., Fox’s Ryan Seacrest-hosted America’s Party will include advertisers Mazda, Michelob, Universal and Warner Bros.

According to research from Initiative, while prime time’s 18-49-year-old audience may decline by 25 percent vs. an average Wednesday, late-night viewing is likely to rise by 17 percent. For the half-hours before and after midnight, last year’s ABC special drew 26 percent of the 18-49-year-old audience, compared with a 7 share for Fox and a 3 for MTV, according to Nielsen research.

“I think it’s become ingrained in people that they want to be with Dick Clark when the ball drops,” said Andrea Wong, svp, alternative series and specials at ABC Entertainment.

But MTV believes it has carved out a niche with its core 12-24 viewers. “We are the authority for our demographic on this night,” said svp of programming Paul Debenedittis.

Earlier in the evening, several broadcast and cable networks have scheduled special programming. Fox will air an Arrested Development block from 8-10; Universal’s Sci-Fi Channel will host a 47-hour Twilight Zone marathon; and MTV sister channel TV Land will run the first and last episodes of classic TV shows.