ABC Out Selling Oscars Hard

With 19 days to go until Oscar night, ABC is still out shopping ad units to
agencies. One agency buyer said they were being offered "great
deals," but declined to specify ABC's pricing.  The network has
reportedly been asking around $1.3 million to $1.5 million per thirty second
spot. That's the same price the network was charging in 2000, according to a
new report out from Kantar Media, formerly TNS Media Intelligence, making it a
great buy for marketers. The event typically carries less clutter than the
Super Bowl.  The Website appears to be ad free at this stage.

General Motors which sat out the so-called "Super Bowl for Women,"
last year, after spending $13.5 million in 2008, will play a part in the
awards, though it's unlikely to be a major sponsor. A documentary about a group
of laid off GM workers features in an Oscar nominated documentary, The Last
Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
.  GM's spot as a major Academy
Awards sponsor was taken by Hyundai Corp. which was last year's top advertiser
spending $11.8 million on four minutes and 30 seconds of advertising time.

Whether the Academy Awards can follow CBS's Super Bowl and The Grammy's and
NBC's Olympics coverage into positive ratings territory remains to be seen,
though ABC and the Academy are no doubt hoping that a wider selection of
nominees will draw a bigger audience. Avatar and The Blind Side,
are two big name movies expected to draw in viewers.

Not everyone has high expectations for a big ratings bust. John Swallen, senior
VP of research Kantar Media, points out that box office attendance has been on
a downward tilt over the past few years. "While it is still a marquee
event, its not as relevant and salient to as large a number of people as it
used to be," Swallen said.  He suggested celebrity culture is now
24/7, making the awards show less of a must-see event. "It still appeals
but it's becoming a narrower event."

Ad prices topped out at $1.689 million back in 2008 with marketers spending
$81.1 million, a peak for last decade. That figure dropped to $68 million in
2009, in the midst of the recession when spots went for $1.3 million. Last
year, auto maker Hyundai Corp. was the biggest advertiser followed by Coca-Cola
came in second place spending $10.5 million.

ABC had not responded to a request for comment at press time.