Glenn Beck’s TV Advertiser Problem Could Play Into Contract Negotiations

By Alex Weprin 

An old problem is rearing its head again, as talks of Glenn Beck possibly leaving Fox News return.

Beck’s advertiser problem is not a new one, but with his contract set to expire in December, and no firm commitment that he will return to FNC in place, it will surely be part of the discussion between the host and FNC management. The problem is that many advertisers do not want their ads on beck’s often-controversial show, instead preferring to have them featured on other programs in that block, like “Fox Report” or “Studio B.”

Daily Finance has more:

Advertisers for Beck’s more liberal rivals on CNN and MSBNC are both more plentiful and better pedigreed, despite the programs’ considerably smaller audiences. “The Situation Room” on CNN booked ads from more than 100 advertisers during the last week in February, while “Hardball” attracted 58 advertisers during the same period, according to Tivo. And the shows attract ads from some of the biggest U.S. consumer brands, including Procter & Gamble and Microsoft.

Beck has 39 advertisers, none of them “blue chips” like P&G.

The advertiser issue comes as Beck’s ratings continue to decline from their peak last year, and after his fill-in, Andrew Napolitano, maintained his ratings when he was on vacation. Update: Of course, one week is not the same as a full-time replacement, so The Wrap item is far from being perfect. In addition, if you compare Napolitano’s week to the prior week when Beck hosted, he was down in both total viewers and the demo.

Advertisers on cable news do not typically buy into individual shows, with most of the larger buys made in time periods. If an advertiser does not want its ads to appear on a specific program, like Beck’s, then it can have its ads shifted to other programs in the block.

Networks don’t like it when this happens, because it means there are fewer ad slots to sell during its program blocks, and it has to secure second-tier advertisers to fill the vacant ad space on the controversial shows. Suffice to say those advertisers do not pay the same CPM that the larger ones do, and they can drag down the network’s CPM average.

If FNC thinks it can fill beck’s time period with someone less controversial while maintaining the same ratings and keeping the marquee advertisers, it may be inclined to do so.