Syndication buyers and sellers are projecting ratings and costs for the new syndicated talk shows prior to this summer’s upfront ad market. They say Disney-ABC’s Katie is likely to command a CPM of $25-$28 in its core demographic, women 25-54. Jeff Probst, with the host of Survivor, is expected to be next at about $25, followed by Steve Harvey and Ricki Lake’s new venture at $18-$20.
It’ll be another six months before we know if Katie Couric’s daytime talk show, Katie from Disney-ABC, is a hit or not. But it’s already beating its rivals in one hugely important race: ad prices.
Katie is expected to fetch ad rates just shy of broadcast syndication’s highest rated shows, according to media buyers, media analysts and syndication executives who are projecting ratings and costs for this summer’s upfront ad market. Based on those projections, Katie is likely to command a CPM (cost per thousand) of $25 and up to $28 in its core demographic, women 25-54.
That would put Katie within striking distance of CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil and Sony Pictures Television’s Dr. Oz, daytime TV’s highest rated talk shows. It would also mean that Katie will initially command higher CPMs than the other high-profile daytime talk shows debuting this fall: CBS’s Jeff Probst, NBC Universal’s Steve Harvey and Twentieth Television’s Ricki.
“In terms of pricing, Katie is clearly recognized as the leader in the market,” says Howard Levy, executive vice president of ad sales at Disney-ABC.
As a point of comparison, Dr. Phil, which is averaging a 1.8 rating among women 25-54 this season, has the highest CPM of the daytime talk shows at more than $30, according to buyers and analysts. Rival Dr. Oz has a 1.6 rating and a CPM in the $28 to $30 range.
Katie is projected to have ratings in the 1.4-1.5 range among women 25-54, although some buyers and sellers say negotiations may begin with a rating projection closer to 1.8-1.9.
Jeff Probst, with the host of Survivor, is expected to fetch the next highest CPM. The show, the first from CBS since its Oprah Winfrey Show ended its 25-year run in broadcast syndication last May, is expected to command a CPM of $25 on a 1.3 rating. A few buyers say they’ll begin negotiations closer to $22 and a 1.2 rating.
NBC Universal’s Steve Harvey, with the host of Debmar-Mercury’s hit syndicated game show Family Feud, is likely to have a CPM of about $20, although some media buyers say it may be closer to $18. Steve’s rating is expected to be above a 1.0 among women 25-54.
However, Family Feud’s surging ratings with Harvey as host — up 78% among women 25-54 over last season — could push the CPM higher before the heavy buying and selling begins in a couple of months.
Several media buyers and analysts say Twentieth Television’s Ricki, with former daytime talk show host Ricki Lake, will have a rating of about 1.0 among women 25-54 with a CPM of $18-$20. But a few media buyers expect a stronger performance from Ricki, with a rating closer to Jeff’s and a CPM as high as $22.
This fall’s new daytime talk shows have a few things working in their favor, notably the recovering ad market. CPMs in the syndication upfront are expected to be up by mid- to high-single-digit percentages over last year, according to media analysts.
Moreover, the absence of Oprah means advertisers have many millions of dollars in play for high-quality daytime talk shows.
Each of the new shows also has attributes that will attract advertising.
Katie is arguably the most recognizable host. Couric is well liked by TV viewers and TV station executives for her long-running stints as co-host of NBC’s early morning news show Today and, less so, for her five years anchoring the CBS Evening News.
This week, she is guest-hosting ABC’s Good Morning America, showing the world she hasn’t lost her daytime infotainment chops.
One of Katie’s executive producers is Jeff Zucker who formerly produced Today and was NBC Universal CEO. Former Oprah director Joe Terry recently joined the show.
Working in Probst’s favor is the notoriety from having hosted CBS’s hit primetime show Survivor for 12 years. He has a built-in fan base and a potential platform to promote his talk show.
Harvey has good buzz from Family Feud’s, while Lake’s name recognition soared last year when she was on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
Lake also had a successful daytime talk show for 11 seasons between 1993 and 2003, although it was in the mold of NBC’s conflict talk shows like Maury, which some advertisers shy away from. Lake says the new show will be closer in tone to Oprah.
While the outlook for the shows is good, in terms of generating solid CPMs, the upfront ad market is still several weeks off. Media buyers and media sellers will only seriously begin negotiating in late spring or early summer. There’s a lot of time for CPMs to rise or fall along with projected ratings.
When the deal-making begins, the syndicators ad teams will be trying to push the ratings and CPM projections as high as they can.
If ratings fall short of projections, it’s relatively easy for syndicators to make up for the shortfalls with additional 30-second spots. In contrast, if projections are too low, advertisers don’t rush back to syndicators to pay more for those spots.
The four talk shows are now in the early stages of hiring crews, designing sets and working on promo strategies. But each has secured its major station clearances, which factor into the media buyers projections of ratings and CPMs.
Katie’s launch group is the ABC O&Os. Jeff and Steve are both launching on NBC-owned stations in major markets. Ricki will debut on Fox and Tribune stations in major markets.
“The real pricing will probably harden up right after the upfront,” says Steve Ridge, president of media strategy at consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates. “Right now, it’s speculative. But the landscape is pretty well set because we know all the station clearances for Katie, Jeff Probst, Ricki and Steve Harvey.”