×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ABC Seeks as Much as $2.6 Million for 2018 Oscars Ads (EXCLUSIVE)

Viewership for TV’s annual Oscars broadcast is at a relative low, but that isn’t keeping ABC from seeking some of the highest costs possible to advertise in next year’s broadcast.

The Disney-owned network, which last year renewed a deal to broadcast the glitzy event through 2028, is seeking as much as $2.6 million for a 30-second commercial in the 2018 awards-fest, according to people familiar with the matter. ABC is said to be nearing sell-out of commercial inventory for next year’s broadcast, and is working on a few deals that would weave some sponsors in and around the show in a more significant way.

In some cases, ABC is seeking between $2.2 million and$2.5 million, one of these people said, though a media buyer suggested the network may have slightly more inventory available and could be open to deals around the $2 million mark. For this year’s broadcast, ABC initially sought more than $2.1 million for a 30-second ad. In recent years, 30-second Oscar ad spots have typically gone for between $1.8 million and $2.2 million.

The high numbers may surprise casual observers, who could note ABC’s 2017 Oscars telecast was one of the least-viewed sessions of the event since 2008  – 34.4 million, compared with 34.3 million in 2016. While the numbers mark a slight uptick year over year, Oscar ratings have more or less tumbled steadily since an Ellen DeGeneres-hosted telecast won 43.7 million viewers in 2014.

Some of the ad costs represent a premium over recent median prices. In 2017, the average price of a 30-second spot in the Oscars came to $1.897 million, according to Standard Media Index, a tracker of ad costs and spending. That’s up about 5.6% from 2016’s average cost of $1.797 million and up 12.5% from 2014’s average of $1.686 million.

Why does Madison Avenue pay more, not less? Simply put, big-ticket events on the order of the Oscars are increasingly difficult for advertisers to find. Even NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” can’t lure a crowd on par with the one that tunes in the Oscars.  Advertisers are paying not only for the size of the TV crowd, but for the power of the Oscars to spark social-media chatter, which they hope to use to enter consumers’ of-the-moment conversations.

Advertisers also know the Oscar playing field is a protected one. The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences limits the amount of advertising time allowed in the awards broadcast, meaning the commercials have a better chance of standing apart from the pack. In 2015, for example, the Oscars broadcast on ABC contained about 29 minutes’ and 45 seconds of ads, according to Kantar, compared with 27 minutes in 2014. In 2015, the Golden Globes contained about 36 minutes of advertising and the Grammys contained about 40 minutes and 30 seconds.

Among the sponsors in 2017’s broadcast were American Express, McDonalds, General Motors, Samsung, Revlon, Berkshire Hathaway’s Geico and AARP. The 2016 Oscars telecast brought in approximately $115 million in ad revenue, according to Kantar Media.

Oscar ratings typically fluctuate each year depending on the mix of nominees. When the top movies nominated are arty films aimed at older audiences, viewership tends to slump. When the nominees for best films are blockbusters, the ratings increase. In 1998, approximately 55 million viewers tuned in to see the crowd-pleasing “Titanic” win “Best Picture.” Oscar ratings hit a new low in 2008, when just 32 million tuned in to see “No Country For Old Men” win the big prize, down from about 38.9 million the year before.

More TV

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

  • AGS2 Key Art, Image IDs: AGS2_081218_2727,

    Starz Releases 'American Gods' Season 2 Trailer (Watch)

    Starz has released a second season trailer for “American Gods,” which returns to the cabler Mar. 10, depicting the brewing war between Gods old and new in the series based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. “When people first came to America they brought us with them,” the trailer begins, flashing images of [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Kenan Thompson

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilots 'Saving Kenan' and 'Like Magic'

    NBC has ordered comedies “Saving Kenan” and “Like Magic” to pilot. “Saving Kenan” is a single-camera comedy starring “Saturday Night Live” veteran Kenan Thompson as a “newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives.” Jackie Clarke will serve as writer and [...]

  • The First -- "The Choice" -

    'The First' Canceled at Hulu After One Season

    Hulu has grounded the space exploration drama “The First” after one season, Variety has confirmed. The series hailed from Beau Willimon and starred Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone in Penn’s first regular television role. “The First” was set in the near future and followed the first human mission to Mars. Hulu gave the show a straight-to-series order in [...]

  • Nicole Maines Supergirl Trans Hollywood Portrait

    TV Roundup: 'Supergirl' Drops First Look at Nicole Maines as TV's First Trans Superhero

    In today’s TV News Roundup, The CW releases a first look at Nicole Maines on “Supergirl” and Variety unveils an exclusive look at Gabriel Iglesias’ new comedy special.  FIRST LOOKS truTV has released the first trailer for season 2 of Emmy-nominated series “At Home with Amy Sedaris.” The variety sketch comedy returns Tuesday, Feb. 19 at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content