While Ratings Challenged, Megyn Kelly Today Is Boosting NBC’s Bottom Line

By A.J. Katz 

Megyn Kelly Today has become something of a punching bag since it premiered in the 9 a.m. hour last September, with critics bashing the show’s format and ratings.

And while it’s true that ratings are down from what the 9 a.m. hour had been delivering pre-Kelly, the new show is actually helping NBC’s bottom line more than its predecessor.

SQAD, an advertising research, analytics, and planning company, found the per unit cost to advertise on the show is on the rise. SQAD went into its MediaCosts: National database to see how the show is performing in the scatter market–when ad time is bought during the season as opposed to during the upfronts. This month-to-month unit data is from September 2017 (when Kelly debuted in NBC’s 9 a.m. slot) through last month.

When the show premiered in September, 2017, unit costs saw a 22 percent month-to-month decline, which could represent inventory commitments already in place before the show premiered.

The trend changed in October, with unit costs spiking 62 percent from $11,275 to $18,255. There was another decline, with the dropoff especially steep from January through February 2018, likely due to Winter Olympics coverage cutting into the program.

But the per unit cost trend has been moving back in a positive direction since.

Scatter unit costs have mostly increased year-over-year, up +12.6 percent in November 2017, up +12.5 percent in December 2017, up +17.2 percent in January, down -14 percent in February 2018. After the Olympics, there was +3 percent year-over-year unit cost growth in March and an +11 percent unit cost growth in April.

Adweek’s senior editor of TV Jason Lynch spoke with NBCU ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino last August about how advertisers were warming to Kelly.

“Megyn joining that daypart has been a real boon for us. There’s been many advertisers interested in the 9 o’clock hour, and I suspect that will grow once she debuts in September,” Yaccarino said.