ABC Close to Selling Out US Oscar Telecast at $1.9 Mil an Ad

neil patrick harris Emmy Host


by ,  Senior TV Editor, 

Madison Avenue continues to rush to the Oscars.

ABC is nearing sell-out of its advertising inventory for its 2015 broadcast of the annual awards from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, according to two media-buying executives and other people familiar with the situation, even though it is seeking what may be some of the highest prices ever charged for the event.

ABC is seeking around $1.9 million for a 30-second spot in the program, these people said. The cost of a spot in the most recent broadcast, hosted in March by Ellen DeGeneres, went for between $1.8 million and $1.9 million. The Oscars are set for a February 22, 2015, broadcast on ABC, withNeil Patrick Harris set to host for the first time and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron reprising their role as producers. Executives from the network could not be reached for comment.

The slight uptick in ad prices suggests that so-called “event” programming – shows that draw outsize audiences and are only available for a limited duration – has become as important as sports broadcasts as TV-viewing behavior becomes ever more splintered with the rise of time-shifting devices, video streaming and other new technologies. Indeed, NBC is seeking $350,000 or more for thirty seconds’ worth of ad time in its coming live broadcast of the play “Peter Pan.” The Oscars broadcast typically draws TV’s second-biggest primetime audience of the season, resting behind only that generated by the Super Bowl.

The 2014 Oscars reached a 14-year ratings high, with DeGeneres, who took a much-celebrated “selfie” during the show using a phone placed by sponsor Samsung, viewed by an average of 43.7 million people, according to data from Nielsen. In comparison, an average of about 40.4 million watched ABC’s 2013 broadcast, hosted by Seth MacFarlane. Total ad revenue generated by ABC’s 2013 broadcast came to about $88.3 million, according to Kantar Media, a new high at the time.



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