Advanced Television

ABC wants record fees for Oscar night

October 19, 2015

By Chris Forrester

oscarTV ratings for the annual Academy Awards are not what they used to be in an age when there’s wall-to-wall saturation coverage of a movie – and its stars – by broadcasters as well as print and social media.

In fact the 2015 Oscar ceremony saw ratings tumble some 15 per cent. ABC, which control the rights for the show’s telecast, charged between $1.8-$2 million for a 30 second advertising spot, according to trade magazine Variety.

Much depends on the popularity of the host and past events have seen Robin Williams and Billy Crystal help boost ratings to a record high. Last year’s Neil Patrick Harris-hosted event was less popular, with its viewing audience falling from 2014’s 43.7 million to some 37.3 million, and the ‘worst’ night for Oscar since 2010.  But even 2014’s decent numbers are nothing when compared to 1998 when Titanic helped garner a slew of awards and a massive 55 million audience. And again top put recent numbers in perspective, 2008 when No Country for Old Men (now considered a modern cinematic classic) gathered only 32 million viewers.

Set against this roller-coaster of a ride ABC is seeking to charge as much as $2.2 million for a 30-second spot on the night of February 28 th2016 for the 88th Awards. ABC’s rationale is that Oscar night viewers are high-quality. The other reason is that the Academy Awards organisers tightly limit the number of ads that can run during the show (11 minutes per hour instead of a more normal 14-16 minutes for broadcast TV).

There’s another reason why this show might just return the ‘Wow’ factor in that Oscar has recruited TV veteran David Hill, a very well know sports producer (who was until recently at 21st Century Fox) as the show’s co-producer.

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