Bill Due for Finales

Jul 11, 2007  •  Post A Comment

When TV shows go off the air, marketers get a chance to say goodbye, just as viewers do.
Sometimes saying so long to an old favorite is expensive, as was the case with the huge send-off NBC gave “Seinfeld.” But most series exit with more of a whimper than a bang, as shown by the cost of commercials in their final episodes.
Nielsen Monitor-Plus tracked the ad prices for commercials in series that went off the air during the 2006-07 season, led by “Gilmore Girls” and “7th Heaven” on The CW and “The King of Queens” on CBS.
When “Gilmore Girls” launched in 2000 on the WB, commercials in the show sold for an average of $38,535 and the show averaged 3.6 million viewers. The show’s viewership peaked in the 2001-02 season at 5.2 million viewers and its commercial rate peaked in 2003 at $84,724.
In “Gilmore Girls’” final season, it averaged 3.6 million viewers and an average commercial cost $62,142.
When it started, the top advertisers in “Gilmore Girls” were Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. Those were still the show’s leading advertisers in 2006.
Launched in 1996, “7th Heaven” drew a 2.3 household rating; it finished with a 2.1 rating in its first season. Ad prices steadily rose from $20,843 in its first season to $81,776 in 2004 before slipping backward. During the first quarter of 2007, spots in “7th Heaven” averaged $56,659, according to Monitor-Plus.
Like “Gilmore Girls,” “7th Heaven” was supported by Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.
CBS’ long-running but underappreciated sitcom “King of Queens” premiered in 1998; at that time the average cost of a commercial in the show was $82,655. Ad prices rose to $169,676 per 30 seconds in 2006. Ratings for the show peaked in 2001-02, when it reached 13.9 million viewers. Last season, it averaged 11.2 million viewers.
In total, Nielsen Monitor-Plus figures that “King of Queens” generated a total of $536.3 million in ad revenue over the course of its run.
Through the years, “King of Queens” has had a diverse list of sponsors. Back in 1998, the top advertisers on the show included Sears Holding Corp., DaimlerChrysler, Texas Pacific Group, McDonald’s and Johnson & Johnson. This past season, the top sponsors were Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Glaxosmithkline, Johnson & Johnson and Verizon Communications.
Several other shows also ended their runs in 2006.
Fox’s “The OC” finished with ad rates of $154,649, down slightly from the $155,038 the show’s spots garnered when it was new and hot in 2003. NBC’s “Crossing Jordan” earned $126,792 per spot in its final season, up from $100,320 when it launched in 2001. ABC’s sitcom “The George Lopez Show,” which started out in 2002 getting $113,716 per spot, bowed out this season generating $84,166 per spot.
On The CW, “Reba” departed after generating $55,371 per spot, up from $38,881 when the show launched back in 2001, and the third and final season of “Veronica Mars” generated $40,143 per spot, up from $28,468 when the girl detective was a freshman.
Nielsen Monitor-Plus also tracked what had seemed to be the final season of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice.” But NBC recently made plans to bring the show back.
Once a huge hit for the Peacock network, “The Apprentice” garnered ad rates of $286,884 when it first appeared in 2004. Last season’s West Coast edition drew $261,945 per spot. Of course, with “The Apprentice,” the real money was in product placement and integrated marketing deals.
This article is part of TVWeek.com’s Media Planner newsletter, a weekly source of breaking news, trend articles, profiles and data about media planning edited by Senior Editor Jon Lafayette.


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