TV shows that viewers tend to watch live, rather than play back days later, command a premium for marketers, according to survey results released in October 2011 by Advertising Age. Results from the survey, which measures the costs of running a 30-second commercial in prime time, indicate that NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” now challenges Fox’s “American Idol” as the most expensive program for advertisers. The average cost of a 30-second ad in NBC’s much-watched football contest is $512,367, while it runs between $468,100 and $502,900 for “Idol.” According to Advertising Age insight, the tally is relative since “Idol”‘s prices tend to go up as the show reaches its finale, with some spots going for as much as $640,000.
Fox Dominates Top 10
Fox’s “X Factor” takes the honor of most expensive new show in this year’s survey, commanding an average of $320,000 for a 30-second spot for its Wednesday night episode. The Thursday night episode brings in an average of $283,034 for 30 seconds. The episodes represent the fourth- and fifth-most expensive programs in prime time overall, meaning that Fox programming represents four of the top five most-expensive shows. Fox shows also takes the sixth, seventh, and eighth spots with “Glee” ($267,141), “Family Guy” ($264,912), and “The Simpsons” ($254,260) respectively. Rounding out the top 10 are CBS’s “Two and a Half Men,” which brings in an average of $252,418 and ABC’s “Modern Family,” which lures an average of $249,388 per 30-second commercial.
Traditional Powerhouses Crumble
ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” the most expensive program of the 2007-2008 season, with an average price of $419,000 for a 30-second spot, has tumbled more than 50% down to $203,078, and out of the top 10 most-expensive shows. Similarly, Sunday night’s “Desperate Housewives,” now in its last season, has experienced an even more precipitous fall, from an average of $394,000 in 2006 to just $149,556 this year. Also dropping out of the top 10 are NBC’s “The Office” and Fox’s “House.”
Leading Programs Show Price Uptick
Some programs are rising in advertisers’ eyes. For example, “Sunday Night Football” has risen 23% from last year’s average of around $415,000. “Two and A Half Men” now commands 22% more than last year’s average of $206,722; a CBS decision to sell the first two weeks featuring new lead Ashton Kutcher as an event of sorts may have contributed to the price hike. And “Modern Family” has grown a healthy 29% from last year’s average of $193,635.
Adweek/Harris: 2 in 3 Adults Watch NFL
Almost two thirds of US adults say they currently watch NFL football (64%), including almost three quarters of men (73%) and more than half of women (55%), according to Adweek/Harris Poll results released in October 2011. Regionally, adults in the Midwest (69%) are 23% more likely than adults in the West (56%) to watch football.In addition, eight in 10 Americans say they never record televised sporting events (79%) while one in five say they record some games and special events (such as the Super Bowl).
About the Data: Ad Age’s numbers are based on what advertisers paid for ad time during this year’s upfront market, when marketers commit to advertising weeks in advance in exchange for locking price guarantees. The market for “scatter” advertising, or ads purchased closer to air date, has been robust, so prices are likely to have risen.