Oscars Command Pricier Ad Market

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ABC has benefited from a strong TV ad market and has sold out its "83rd Annual Academy Awards" with higher prices than a year ago. Some advertisers are shelling out $1.7 million and more for a 30-second commercial -- up from $1.6 million for the same spot a year ago, according to media executives.

While this is an improvement, it isn't the $1.8 million price tag commanded from advertisers before the 2009 recession.

ABC's advertisers this year include Amazon, American Cancer Society, Anheuser Busch, AT&T, Best Buy, Cars.com, Coke, Hyundai, JCPenney, McDonald's, Nokia, Paramount, P&G, Sprint, Summit Pictures, Unilever, Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures.

As is customary for the Oscars, many are returning advertisers.

On average, media research firm Kantar Media says ABC had its best advertising results for the Oscars in 2008 -- averaging $1.69 million for a 30-second commercial, pulling in a total of $81.1 million in advertising revenue for the night.

These numbers dipped sharply the next year, to $1.31 million for a commercial, and $68.0 million overall. In 2010, the event rose to a $1.40 million price tag for a unit spot and $70.0 million overall.

The Alphabet Net did better with movie companies this year -- a new category -- pulling in four movie marketers versus three in 2010 and two in 2009. CBS Films, Summit Entertainment and Walt Disney ran commercials a year ago. Movie companies have been heavily marketing their efforts of late in big events -- as witnessed by fourteen 30-second commercials that ran in the Super Bowl earlier this month on Fox.

In 2009, the first year that ABC was allowed to sell movie advertising in the "Academy Awards," the network sold two 30-second film commercials -- Disney's "Up" and Paramount Pictures' "The Soloist" -- which came with a host of content and film release restrictions. Deep into the 2009 recession, executives say ABC had to cut its top price from $1.8 million to below $1.4 million in some cases.

Last year's awards ceremony pulled in 41.3 million viewers -- its best result since 2005, when it grabbed 43.5 million viewers, with "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" winning many major awards.

This year's event will run Sunday, February 27th.

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