Ad victory not to the swift

Pre-sold spots hobble Alphabet in year of Titanic-mania

NEW YORK — Although industry analysts believe the world’s obsession with “Titanic” will catapult tonight’s Academy Awards telecast to its highest rating in years, ABC won’t be able to financially take advantage of the high viewership.

That’s because ABC sold the commercial spots before “Titanic”-mania struck. Each year, incumbent advertisers in the Oscars are automatically offered to repeat their buys from the previous year. Because the Academy Awards is such a prestige event, ABC sets a fixed price — this year it’s $915,000 — and most of the incumbent advertisers renew their buys at the new price.

At only a 4% increase over last year’s $875,000 per spot, advertisers this year will very likely get a major bargain.

The network began selling spots to this year’s telecast back in August, so there was no way network sales execs could have foreseen how much extra interest there would be in the Oscars this year.

“In a year like this, I wish I had 10 more avails and held them for scatter,” said Marvin Goldsmith, president of ad sales for ABC.

In addition to getting 30 seconds to advertise their products for their $915,000, advertisers also get something else: two tickets to the Oscars for every 30-second spot they buy.

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