2005-2006 Prime Time TV Season 30 Sec Ad Rates
(see also: Previous
Year Ad Rates; Understanding
NOTE: info in this chart below was gleaned
from the news story that follows.
||30 Sec Ad Rate
Fox Breaks Prime-Time Pricing Record
September 12, 2005
By Steve McClellan, Adweek
Heading into its fifth year, American Idol, Fox's hit show,
has set a new milestone
for network TV: a record-high price tag for a
30-second commercial unit.
For the new fall season, the cost of a 30-second spot during the Wednesday
installment of the program has surpassed the $700,000 mark. That’s a first
any regularly scheduled prime-time network series. Sources with firsthand
of the numbers confirmed that the average price for a 30-second unit
in the program
is $705,000, up about 7 percent from a year ago.
For the second year in a row, the Tuesday and Wednesday editions of American
are the most expensive shows on network TV (the Tuesday installment of AI
for $660,000 per :30). “Deservedly so,” said Andy Donchin,
executive vp/director of
national broadcast at Carat, noting that they were
the highest-rated shows of the
2004-05 season across most of the key metrics,
including adults 18-49.
Sources said Cingular Wireless, Coca-Cola and Ford, last year’s major
advertisers, have all renewed their sponsorships.
The highest-priced new show is NBC’s The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, sources
with 30-second units pegged at $310,000. Other new shows commanding
include ABC’s Invasion and Commander in Chief, both at about
$240,000 per :30. UPN’s
anticipated new comedy, Everybody Hates
Chris, is getting $179,000, a record price for
The 2005-06 season will be the third in a row in which the most expensive
is a reality show. Two years ago, Survivor topped the list with
a price tag of $425,000.
The last time a scripted-entertainment series (sitcom
or drama) was the priciest show
was during 2002-03, when Friends, then in its
penultimate season, took in $420,000 per
No other single show comes close to this year’s eye-popping Idol price tag.
Buyer and network sources said the average price of a network 30-second ad for
the new fall season is approximately $150,000. The average price last year was
about $143,500, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
For every high-ticket show like Idol, there are programs with prices well
below average, such as Fox’s Bones (priced at $115,000), ABC’s Wife Swap
and Night Stalker (both at $105,000), and CBS’ Ghost Whisperer and Threshold
($100,000 and $88,000, respectively).
Aside from the two Idol editions, only one other regularly scheduled series
across the networks is priced at more than $500,000, and that’s ABC’s
Desperate Housewives, which is fetching an average of $560,000 per spot for
the season, up 275 percent from last fall. Housewives, the highest-rated new
show of last season and third overall in adults 18-49 ratings, spearheaded a
turnaround for ABC on Sunday nights. A year ago, ABC was an also-ran on
Sundays, and most of its 30-second ads there were priced around $150,000 or
below. By the end of last season, the network dominated the night in the
ratings, and prices for the new season reflect that. A spot in Extreme
Makeover: Home Edition now costs $355,000, almost double the price of a year
ago, while Grey’s Anatomy, a midseason hit that premiered earlier this year,
is priced at $440,000, about 125 percent higher than its original cost.
Brad Adgate, senior vp and corporate research director at Horizon Media, said
that dramas in general have made a big comeback, as evidenced by ABC’s
Sunday resurgence and also by the fact that all six broadcast networks are
going head-to-head with dramas on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. this fall. No one is
counter-programming, which suggests a high degree of confidence in the quality
of the product, said Adgate. “I don’t think that has ever happened
before,” he added.
At CBS, CSI remains the highest-priced show for the second straight year, with
an average spot price of $465,000, up 5 percent from a year ago. Survivor
continues as the second-priciest show on the network, at $350,000 per :30,
albeit down about 6 percent from last fall, which reflects a comparable drop
in the show’s ratings. Monday stalwart Two and a Half Men has moved into the
9 p.m. anchor position (in place of the departed Everybody Loves Raymond) and
commands rates of $293,000 per :30, almost 20 percent more than last fall.
ER remains NBC’s highest-priced show at $400,000, down about 10 percent from
a year ago, reflecting the show’s ratings drop of almost 3 points among
adults 18-49. The Apprentice also fell in the ratings last year, and the price
dropped 13 percent to $350,000.
UPN’s highest-rated show of last season, America’s Next Top Model, is
attracting spot rates of $118,000. The WB’s priciest shows for the new
season include the returning 7th Heaven and Gilmore Girls, both collecting
$96,000 per :30.