With the movie academy's decision to expand the number of titles in the best picture category for an Oscar next year, could there be more movie advertising on TV?
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences hopes that will be the case, adding to its big change of a year ago that allowed films to be advertised for the first time in the Oscars broadcast on ABC -- albeit with a host of restrictions.
While many figured at the outset these in-show movie ads would be a boon for ABC -- citing the obvious connection between viewers and content -- it turned out not to be the case. Only a couple of movies were advertised, such as Paramount's "The Soloist" and Disney/Pixar's "Up."
For next year, the number of best-movie nominees will be doubled, from five to 10 -- which in itself does nothing for the coffers at ABC , since nominees aren't allowed to advertise. The Academy restricts movie advertising to films that have yet to be released.
But this may push studios to open up their wallets and spend advertising dollars in the weeks prior to the TV awards show, on ABC and other networks, all to tout their celebrated films.
For commercials during the show itself, ABC may find itself in the same position as last year -- not gaining very much from the extra advertising category. Academy restrictions means movies opening in March and April are the likely candidates. But that is typically a mixed bag of modestly budgeted theatrical films -- women-targeted movies and older-male-skewing comedies, for example.
Summer blockbusters with their big marketing budgets don't come until May and beyond. And those movies -- many big action-adventure/fantasy films, typically targeting a young male movie audience -- aren't a perfect match for the Oscar broadcast, anyway, which typically attracts older, upscale women viewers. Studios producing smaller women-targeted movies usually don't budget a hefty $1.4 million to $1.8 million for a single 30-second commercial.
However, one TV, now movie, franchise -- "Sex And the City: The Movie" -- which had the largest opening weekend box office ever for a chick flick in 2008, $56.8 million, is returning for a sequel in May 2010. The Oscar show would seem to be an obvious place to start its big expected marketing push.
Correction: Yesterday's TV Watch -- "Reality TV Won't Tell Truth; Someone Suffers Consequences" -- cited an incorrect Associated Press report that said Jon and Kate Gosselin had been living apart for two years. A TLC spokeswoman confirmed that the Gosselins have been living apart for only a week or two. AP also issued a correction.