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Advertising Rates Unchanged For 2010 Oscars

Unlike the advertising rates for the broadcast of the Super Bowl this year, which dipped from 2009, the price for a 30-second ad in ABC’s celebrated telecast of the Academy Awards is running between $1.3 million and $1.5 million. These prices match the rates from 2009; a range that tracks with last year’s prices even as a newly expanded pool of best-picture nominees might bring broader audiences.

Last year’s Oscar telecast cost advertisers around $1.4 million for a 30-second ad, down significantly from 2008, when a 30-second spot commanded as much as $1.82 million.

Ad buyers say the network still has commercial time available during the upcoming Oscars, but has become more bullish on its sales over the last few weeks in tandem with an improving outlook on the economy. The 82nd annual Academy Awards airs Sunday, March 7th. The Walt Disney-owned network has broadcast the Oscars since 1976.

As audiences continue to fragment around all kinds of new viewing opportunities on mobile devices and digital venues, advertisers still count on events such as the Oscars to deliver big viewer numbers. The Oscars are typically the biggest ratings event on TV aside from the Super Bowl and the National Football League’s NFC and AFC Championship games.

Movie buffs and advertisers should get a sense of how the 2010 broadcast of the event will do when the Academy announces nominees the morning of Feb. 2.

The unchanged rates are a bit of a surprise since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) changed the best picture category from five nominees to an astounding ten in order to attract more viewers. It is highly expected that James Cameron’s Avatar, the now reigning king of the international box office, will be nominated.  But the change wasn’t for the blue people, it was for the Caped Crusader.

“I would not be telling you the truth if I said the words Dark Knight did not come up,” Sidney Ganis, the Academy’s president, said during a Q&A after the announcement.

In early 2009, The Dark Knight, a critically acclaimed blockbuster comic book film, was excluded from a list of nominees that included Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Reader and the winner, Slumdog Millionaire.

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