In Depth

ABC Made $72 Million on 26 Minutes of Oscar Ads

ABC sold 26 minutes of advertising time for about $72 million in its Feb. 22 Academy Awards broadcast, the most since 2004, TNS Media Intelligence says.

The high number of sales came despite General Motors and L’Oreal, two major sponsors, pulling out.

“This year’s tumultuous economic climate was both a boon and a bane to ABC’s Academy Awards telecast. While several major advertisers dropped out of this year’s event, it allowed new brands to participate,” said Dean DeBiase, CEO of TNS Media. “Despite a challenging business climate and an overall downward trend in audience ratings, marketers understand the unique power of TV advertising for marquee events such as the Academy Awards.”

With those advertisers withdrawn, Hyundai was the top sponsor, with eight commercial units taking up four and a half minutes. Also with eight units were Coca-Cola and JC Penney. Coke had four minutes of ad time and Penney had three and a half.

Hyundai was a first-time Oscar advertiser. Other newbies in the broadcast were Sprint-Nextel, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Disney Touchstone Pictures, Hoover Vacuums, Paramont Pictures and Maytag.

The Oscars allowed movie advertising for the first time this year.

ABC itself had 6 minutes and 20 seconds of network promos in the Oscars, up from 5:40 and the most since 2006.

The network dropped the price of a 30-second unit in the awards show to $1.4 million from $1.65 million-$1.7 million, according to TNS, which estimates last year's Oscars generated about $81 million.