Disney Softens Prices for Oscars Commercials

To a movie actor, the Oscar statue is worth its weight in gold. To Madison Avenue? Well, maybe a little less.

Disney has declared sell-out of the approximately 60 to 70 commercial slots it sells in each year’s Oscars broadcast on ABC, a little more than 48 hours before the Sunday broadcast. The company sought $1.6M to $2.1M for a 30-second spot, according to a person familiar with the matter, a slightly lower range than in the past, potentially owing to the economy, or the event’s ratings declines in recent years. In 2022, Disney asked for between $1.7 million and $2.2 million for a 30-second ad, according to media buyers and other executives familiar with last year’s negotiations.

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“Our sponsors showed up in full force, across every major category with new and custom creative, joining a spectacular evening celebrating the biggest achievements in storytelling and the moments that bring us together,” said Rita Ferro, president, Disney Advertising, in a statement. “The Oscars is a cultural phenomenon at the center of creativity and entertainment — and with Jimmy Kimmel back at the helm as host, our all-star production team is set to bring the magical night to movie fans, everywhere.”

Leading sponsors of the 2023 broadcast in Pfizer; Rolex and Verizon. Other companies that intend to run commericals includd Allstate; Amazon XCM; Applebee’s; Audible; AutoDesk; Booking.com; Carnival; Paramount +; Chase; EJ Gallo; Constellation Brands; GSK; Henkel; Hulu; Hyundai; Intuit Turbo Tax; KDP Dr. Pepper; Liberty Mutual; Lucid Motors; Novartis; Progressive; Rocket Mortgage; Snapchat; Sony; Starbucks; Stellantis; TIAA Cref; Universal; Volvo; Warner Brothers and Walt Disney Motion Pictures, among others.

The 2022 Oscars pulled in $139 million through 70 ads, while the red-carpet pre-show captured $15.8 million across 48 commercials, according to Vivvix, a tracker of ad spending. In the previous year, the extravaganza generated about $129 million across 56 ads, while the red-carpet pre show attracted $16.3 million across 42 spots. The 2021 broadcast was done under pandemic conditions.

ABC’s 2022 broadcast drew 16.6 million viewers, up 58% from the record-low audience of 10.5 million that watched in 2021. Other awards programs have also seen steep declines in viewership in recent years, including the Emmys and Grammys.

Some aspects of Disney’s Oscars sales efforts are changing. The company said it plans to work with VideoAmp, a measurement technology firm, to help Oscars advertisers gauge audiences in new ways that often go beyond sheer numbers.

Disney has also continued to burnish the sale of local Oscars ads across ABC’s TV stations. The company said 14 new advertisers will run local ads during the event, including ELF Cosmetics; Haverty’s; Lexus; The Honest Company; BMW; LAPAM / Israel Tourism; Mazda and Rolex, among others. Ads that run in specific markets cost significantly less than a national spot.

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