Media Power 50: 'Meet the Press' attracts engaged audience, major b-to-b ads

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The longest-running show on television, NBC's “Meet the Press” is more than holding its own. Year-to-date through April 21, it averaged 3 million viewers tuning in to watch the program live or later the same day, according to Nielsen. Boeing Co., targeting an audience of military executives, is the exclusive sponsor of the show's online content as well as its apps; it is also a major broadcast sponsor. Other advertisers include the American Petroleum Institute, Citigroup, General Electric Co. and Xerox. “It's a gray audience and exceedingly affluent,” said Brad Adgate, senior VP-research at Horizon Media. “These people are interested in politics and decision-making, and how that can impact business.” The program's following is indeed upscale. Data on its website show that 55% of its viewers have a household income above $100,000. People visiting the site view on average three videos for approximately eight minutes per session, according to comScore Video Metrix. When former NBC News Chief White House Correspondent David Gregory took the reins as host in 2008, some hailed it as the start of a new digital era for the program. (Gregory took over for longtime host Tim Russert, who had died suddenly.) Gregory has continued to draw high-profile figures to the program, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee; and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to name a few who appeared recently. Digital offerings include a strong Facebook following, a “Meet the Press” Twitter feed and a blog featuring exclusive video excerpts from interviews with on-air guests such as Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. When “Meet the Press” unveiled an app in 2010 for the iPhone and iPod Touch, Boeing purchased all the ad inventory on it to become the exclusive sponsor. In 2011, the Android version debuted, and Boeing continues as the sponsor. “Meet the Press” faces stiff competition from ABC's “This Week,” which has an average year-to-date viewership of 2.6 million, and CBS' “Face the Nation,” which has an average viewership for its two back-to-back Sunday morning shows of 2.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen. “Meet the Press” is “very immersive content,” said Liz Ross, president-North America of BPN, a division of Interpublic Group of Cos. Because of the highly political or financial nature of the content, she added, “it requires you to tailor a message in a way that's germane to that particular brand.” Ross sees Boeing's multiplatform sponsorship as a good fit. “It's a great place for them, actually,” she said.
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