Ad Buyers React To Jay Leno's Move To 10 P.M.

Madison Avenue ad buyers are reporting some excitement about

the news of Jay Leno's move to the ten o'clock slot on NBC

. A primetime talk show may open up fresh territory for Madison & Vine players and marketers looking to place live commercials.

Agencies did, however, harbor some concerns about what the move does to the rest of the late night landscape. Gibbs Haljun, managing director of media investment at Mediaedge:cia, North America, said, "Everybody is excited about doing something different. We're wondering what's the value of that audience? What does it do versus late night? Why do I need to pay a premium for that?"

Primetime broadcast network programming commands a cost per thousand (CPM) price of around $30 while late night airtime is discounted by as much as 30%.

Another issue raised by Mr. Haljun is the increased rivalry for the best guests. "Who gets what guest? Now you're going to have two shows on the same network -- one and then one an hour and a half earlier."

The arrival of Leno however is, on the whole, welcome news for the ad community which might prefer the known quantity of a veteran comedian to another scripted flop. PHD executive vice president director of broadcast, Harry Keeshan, says the idea of primetime talk shows is already proven on cable – he points to the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC - but wonders if the audience of largely young men will move with the new Leno show and if they do, whether the show might attract the kind of broad audience advertisers need.

Separately, the possibility of NBC cutting back on hours is raising eyebrows. "Yes it is a concern," said Haljun, "It is a challenge and we're having a hard time finding hits period, reality or scripted."

Added Keeshan, "The reality is the networks are suffering from the writers' strike on top of a bad economy and a strong election and sports year, and the cable networks have done well. It's almost a perfect storm."