New Year's Eve Ad Countdown Begins

Broadcast and Cable Outlets Make the Most of Last Minutes of '08 Ad Time

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NEW YORK ( -- A bevy of TV networks will host New Year's Eve festivities tonight -- ostensibly to entertain the masses of viewers staying home or ringing in 2009 at parties -- but also to wring the last few thousand dollars' worth of ad revenue out of 2008 as the last seconds of this year tick away.

'New Year's Rockin' Eve'
ABC's "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest" will mark its 37th year on the air this evening (as its name shows, is in the midst of transition as Mr. Clark cedes more on-air duties to Mr. Seacrest) and is the ratings champ among broadcast-network fare. Last year, the program snared more than 18 million live-plus-same-day viewers for the 11:35 p.m. portion of the show, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 11:35 p.m. "NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly" notched about 7.98 million live-plus-same-day viewers, while Fox's "New Year's Eve Live," which started at 11 p.m., won about 6 million viewers in the last moments of 2007 and first moments of 2008, Nielsen said.

Fergie, Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest
Fergie, Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin
The average cost of a 30-second commercial in all three events was about $71,693, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The shows appear to bring out the usual suspects for broadcast-TV: broad-reach marketers including movie studios, telecommunications advertisers, fast-food chains and consumer-package-goods giants. Among the advertisers in at least one of the programs last year were Allstate, American Express, AT&T, Bayer, Coca-Cola, General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Sprint Nextel, Unilever, Wendy's and Yum Brands.

No Chevys
In a sign of how this year is different, General Motors' Chevrolet will not be advertising in any New Year's events, after several years of running commercials on NBC, ABC and CBS during festivities and late-night fare.

Broadcast networks aren't the only ones programming on New Year's Eve (or at any other time of the year, for that matter). ESPN will feature live coverage of biker Robbie Maddison making a long-distance motorcycle jump in "Red Bull: New Year, No Limits" -- obviously sponsored by the energy drink in the title.

All three cable-news outlets will run New Year's-related programming, from Fox News Channel's "U Party 2009" to MSNBC's "New Year's Eve Special" to an edition of "Anderson Cooper 360" featuring comedienne Kathy Griffin.

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