November 15, 2011

Priciest Ad Spots on Primetime Television

Even with the prevalence of the PVR/DVR, marketers still pay a pretty penny for a 30-second advertising spot on primetime TV. But with audiences in the millions, companies are happy to pay the premium.

So who comes out on top as the priciest television show this year? Not surprisingly NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” reigns supreme with a whopping $512,367 per ad, ousting last year’s leader “American Idol”, who still manages to lure an average of $502,900. However the battle for the top spot isn’t over according to some media-buying agencies who contend that ad rates for “American Idol” tend to go up as the season progresses. For instance the finale episode of “Idol”, which usually amasses around 30 million viewers, it is estimated that commercials will cost up to $640,000.

The latest numbers show that live performances or events tend to out-do “traditional” TV shows simply because viewers are more inclined to watch something if it is aired live instead of watching regular shows that can be recorded and seen at a later date. Live reality competitions such as “The X-Factor”, “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Voice” hallmark this trend, all raking in upwards of $200,000 per ad.

"Modern Family" cracks the Top 10 as it finds itself sitting pretty at number 8

After their recent Emmy haul, “Modern Family” enjoys a bump in ad prices jumping up $60,000 to $249,388. Also with all the hype surrounding “Two and a Half Men” this year, it is no question to why the comedy saw a surge in rates, charging around $252,418, up $50,000 form the previous year.

However, not all shows found success this year. Shows that once commanded top spots such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives” are now only able to garner half as much money due to significant drops in viewership. It just goes to show that in the cut-throat business of advertising, it all boils down to numbers.

Here’s a list of the Top 10 television shows that charge the highest premiums for a 30-second ad spot as compiled by Ad Age.

2011-2012 Primetime Season

  1. Sunday Night Football (NBC) – $512,367
  2. American Idol (FOX) – $502,900
  3. The X-Factor (FOX) – $320,669
  4. Glee (FOX) – $267,141
  5. Family Guy (FOX) – $264,912
  6. The Simpsons (FOX) – $254,260
  7. Two and a Half Men (CBS) – $252,418
  8. Modern Family (ABC) – $249,388
  9. House (FOX) – $236,500
  10. Dancing With the Stars (ABC) – $233,482

I thought it was also interesting to note how the latest numbers stack up with last years list.

2010-2011 Primetime Season

  1. American Idol (FOX) – $467,617
  2. Sunday Night Football (NBC) – $415,000
  3. Glee (FOX) – $373,014
  4. Family Guy (FOX) – $259,289
  5. The Simpsons (FOX) – $253,170
  6. House (FOX) – $226,180
  7. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – $222,113
  8. The Office (NBC) – $213,617
  9. Desperate Housewives (ABC) – $210,064
  10. Two and a Half Men (CBS) – $206,722
Curious to see how your favourite shows faired this year? Check out Ad Age’s complete list here.

About the Author

Recultured Team
Recultured Team
This is where you'll find the blog posts that the team has contributed to collectively! What team? Wildcats! -Nope, wrong team. Recultured!

  • Jon

    The Simpsons is still on the air? wow

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