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ABC sells all of its Oscar broadcast commercial spots

February 7, 2012 |  3:43 pm

NataliePortmanWinsOscar

Commercial time in this month's Academy Awards broadcast is a hot ticket.

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger said Tuesday that the ABC network last week sold the remainder of its available advertising time — several weeks earlier than usual. 

"There was demand for even more spots than allowed in [our] contract," Iger said in an earnings conference call with Wall Street analysts. Iger said the network squeezed in a few additional spots before it hit the contractual cap.

ABC fetched an average of $1.7 million per 30-second spot for the 84th annual Academy Awards broadcast on Feb. 26, a slight uptick from last year's rate.

The strong demand by advertisers bodes well for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which relies on television revenue to stage its annual Oscar festivities as well as finance its operations.  Some observers have fretted that the field of nominees, led by "The Artist" and "Hugo," lacks a mainstream blockbuster film that would help lure mass numbers of viewers to the awards telecast. The biggest box-office draw of the major nominated films was "The Help," which had four nominations.  

Billy Crystal will host this year's awards ceremony.

The Academy Awards historically is one of the top television events of the year — often second only to the Super Bowl — and has become advertisers' favorite vehicle to reach women. The show is typically the second most-expensive network TV buy, too, after the Super Bowl. In the advertising world, the event is known as the "Super Bowl for women."

The Oscar audience is also typically upscale, representing viewers with plenty of disposable income, making it all that more attractive to advertisers.

The Oscars ceremony also has drawn high advertiser interest because — like the Super Bowl or the "American Idol" finale — it is broadcast live and viewers watch the commercials rather than speeding through them with their digital video recorders. That makes the ad time more valuable to companies.

RELATED:

Oscars 2012: "Hugo" emerges as a serious best picture contender

On location: Oscar contender: "The Artist" gives a shout-out to Los Angeles

Oscar gold: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences aims for younger audiences

— Meg James

Photo:  Natalie Portman accepts her Academy Award for lead actress for her performance in "Black Swan" at last year's Oscar ceremony.  Credit:  Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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