30 Second Ad Cost for Broadcast Primetime Shows

Categories: TV Advertising

Written By

September 30th, 2007


$American Idol ruling the roost by a significant margin with a $700,000 price tag for 30 seconds doesn't surprise me.  It's good to be #1.  Slightly more surprising to me was the gap between #2 in cost, Grey's Anatomy @ $465,000 and CSI, which is 8th on the list at a cost of $290,000.

CSI pulled many more viewers last week -- over 4 million more total (24.85m for CSI vs. 20.48m for Grey's, according to the Fast Affiliate overninghts).  CSI had over 20% more viewers!  So why is Grey's more expensive?  Ageism plain and simple, with perhaps a little gender bias thrown in for kicks.  

To the degree that advertisers actually pay the rates in this table -- and for a variety of reasons I don't assume it's a very high degree -- the buyers are perhaps just dopes.  Would they really pay what amounts to 60% more for a 30 second spot on Grey's vs. CSI for what amounts to 7/10ths of a rating point in the 18-49? 

I expect it's not purely that simple, and the advertisers on Grey's also value the 18-34 crowd, especially the females, and I don't doubt Grey's has a few more of those than CSI.   But using the 18-49 base as a proxy, the premium seems too high.  

The now defunct Nashville is at least the lowest on the list at $60K. 

I tried to talk Gorman into blowing our advertising budget for the next 20 years by running a 30 second spot on Kitchen Nightmares ($75,000) but he wouldn't go for it. Maybe he'd have gone for Bionic Woman @ $185,000.  Full list:

Show Network Cost / 30 sec. ad
American Idol Monday Fox $700,000
American Idol Tuesday Fox $700,000
Greys Anatomy ABC $465,000
Desperate Housewives ABC $378,000
Sunday Night Football NBC $350,000
Heroes NBC $330,000
The Simpsons Fox $300,000
24 Fox $300,000
CSI CBS $290,000
House Fox $290,000
Private Practice ABC $255,000
Dancing with the Stars ABC $250,000
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC $250,000
Survivor CBS $240,000
Two and a Half Men CBS $230,000
Office NBC $210,000
My Name is Earl NBC $195,000
K-ville Fox $190,000
Bionic Woman NBC $185,000
Back to You Fox $175,000
Americas Top Model CW $175,000
Dirty Sexy Money ABC $168,000
Journeyman NBC $165,000
The Big Bang Theory CBS $138,000
Cane CBS $128,000
Chuck NBC $125,000
Pushing Daisies ABC $115,000
Beauty and the Geek CW $115,000
Viva Laughlin CBS $110,000
Life NBC $110,000
Great American Band Fox $109,000
Gossip Girl CW $109,000
Moonlight CBS $104,000
Kid Nation CBS $101,000
Cavemen ABC $100,000
Dont Forget the Lyrics Fox $100,000
Smallville CW $97,000
Carpoolers ABC $90,000
Reaper CW $85,000
Kitchen Nightmares Fox $75,000
Nashville Fox $60,000

Data: MediaWeek

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