Nobody on CNN would utter a positive word about Donald Trump, but the bean-counters are thrilled.
According to Advertising Age magazine, CNN is asking up to $200,000 for a 30-second spot in the prime-time GOP debate it will host Sept. 16. The network wants $50,000+ for a thirty on the earlier “kids table” debate. Look for adjacencies to go fast.
Putting the numbers in perspective: For its regular snooze of a lineup in prime time, CNN fetches about $5,000 per thirty seconds, according to AdAge’s sources among media buyers.
Paying $200,000 a spot won’t get you on “Sunday Night Football” or “NCIS,” but plenty of over-the-air shows in prime time don’t command nearly that much.
On a normal night at CNN, five grand gets your cellphone carrier or auto insurer in 96 million households. The problem is getting enough people to watch. It is obvious that Ted Turner’s money machine isn’t anymore.
A record 24 million people watched the first Republican debate last month on Fox News, which dominates cable news ratings. CNN’s numbers might not come in quite as big, but booking a month’s worth of prime-time revenue in one night makes an impression.
We already know who the star of the debate will be. Trump has semi-threatened to not show up unless CNN contributes $10 million of its windfall to charity. (He wouldn’t miss another chance to give Jeb Bush a wedgie, would he?)
I suggest those who run CNN watch and learn, because at some point Trump might want to make a triumphant return to prime time. For the moment he’s occupied.