Inside Move: Hardly a banner year for ABC

Alphabet buys banners to tout Emmy telecast

In an ironic twist of fate, ABC was cornered into footing the bill for all 200 yellow-and-black Emmy banners found on surface street lampposts around Los Angeles.

ABC spent about $40,000 for the approximately 200 banners ($3,400 for the city permit and $35,000 to the firm that hangs them).

In years past, major studios like Paramount and Warner Bros. have subsidized the banners around their lots. But that was before ABC spawned last year’s Great Los Angeles Banner Controversy.

The Alphabet web caused a big stir when it bought banner space on streets throughout town — normally reserved for nonprofit orgs like the L.A. Philharmonic and the L.A. County Art Museum — to promote its fall programming.

That provoked an uproar among city leaders, who were embarrassed by the Los Angeles City Council’s approval of those 2,000 yellow ABC banners (which included black-and-white photos of network stars and the Alphabet logo), especially since the city only charged the network $46,000.

The city council later passed a round of new ordinances prohibiting any for-profit companies from buying banner space.

Now the ABC banners are back — but this time to solely promote the Alphabet’s Sunday night coverage of the Emmy Awards. The Emmy banners are allowed since the kudocast is considered a community event, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is classified as a nonprofit organization.

But the new banner ordinances spawned by those ABC ads last year now prohibit more than one corporate logo on a banner. Facing the prospect of Emmy banners that didn’t mention telecaster ABC, the network decided to pay for all of the banners itself.

That effectively ended a long-standing gentleman’s agreement among the studios, which had paid to get their logos on the banners.

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