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.”
The story also says that last year pulled in $81 million so it seems like "the most since 2004" referenced above is in terms of number of minutes of advertising sold. Doing the math it comes out to ~$1.385 million per commercial spot (the article rounds it up to $1.4 million) versus last year's estimated $1.65M-$1.70M range per 30 second spot.
Though considering its 36.3 million average viewers, the Academy Awards seems like a bargain compared to the Men's NCAA basketball tournament final on CBS which are reportedly going for $1.4 million per 30 seconds as well. Last year the NCAA final averaged 19.5 million viewers and a 7.3/19 (rating/share) in adults 18-49. Last Sunday's Academy Awards had a 12.1 rating among 18-49 year olds.