Advertisers Channel Oscar Buys To TV Guide

Some advertisers, looking to tap into the excitement of the Academy Awards while avoiding the seven-digit price tag on ABC, are turning to Joan and Melissa--officially, the TV Guide Channel.

The channel, where the flamboyant mother-daughter pair will host red-carpet coverage for the second year in a row, has sold out its 13 Oscar packages. The deals include spots on multiple pre- and post-Academy Awards shows (highlighted by Joan and Melissa's live celebrity interviews before the March 5 event and their fashion commentary the day after); category exclusivity; and brand integration such as segment sponsorships.

Prices range from about $225,000 to $450,000, compared to the $1.7 million per 30-second spot for the awards show on ABC.

"Joan is a very recognizable talent and of course we're more efficient than buying a network," said Richy Glassberg, senior vice president, TV Guide Network Group.

The roster of advertisers includes Kellogg, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, Diageo, Bravo, Sony, and Fox Home Video. Other advertisers--General Motors, JCPenney, MasterFoods, AT&T, and Dyson--with a presence on ABC's coverage are doubling up on TV Guide Channel.



Last year, only 70 percent of TV Guide Channel's Oscar inventory was sold in package deals, with the remainder filled via scatter buys.

After the Oscars in 2004, Joan and Melissa Rivers signed a multi-year deal to bring their red-carpet coverage of awards shows from the Grammys to the Oscars to the Emmys (plus postmortem fashion critiques of the stars) to TV Guide Channel. The pair had developed a large following at E! since 1996. Their first pre-Oscar live coverage on TVGC last year pulled in over one million viewers--a first for the network, TVGC said.

E! replaced Joan and Melissa with Star Jones on the Oscars last year, before signing "American Idol's" Ryan Seacrest to host all its pre-event, red-carpet coverage starting with the Golden Globes last month. E! declined comment on advertisers and costs for its pre-Oscar coverage.

John Rash, senior vice president and director of national programming for Minneapolis agency Campbell Mithun, said the red-carpet shows provide advertisers with an entrée to the Oscars, but the 40 million or so viewers who watch the event on ABC are the holy grail. "The programs are certainly Oscar-related and they have an association value, but the real prize with the Oscars is the sheer audience that the broadcast is able to coalesce," he said.

TV Guide Channel is using Joan and Melissa as franchise players as it tries to remake its image from a listings service to an entertainment news network providing viewing guidance. Usually, the TVGC screen is one-third filled by a listings scroll, but the network will expand to a full-screen for Joan and Melissa on the live red-carpet show and the post-awards fashion critique.

TV Guide Channel's Oscar packages include a preview show with Joan and Melissa airing Feb. 26; four hours of pre-show coverage on Oscar day, March 5, including the two-hour "Joan and Melissa Live at the Academy Awards"; and the show dedicated to Joan and Melissa's take on the stars' couture, "Fashion Wrap," on March 6. (An example of brand integration TVGC is offering is a "Fashion Wrap" segment sponsored by Dyson vacuum-makers about which celebs cleaned up in fashion.)

Each of the shows are replayed multiple times, providing added exposure for advertisers.

Next story loading loading..