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TV Production Costs Up Slightly

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NEW YORK The cost of making a 30-second commercial rose 4 percent, and the price tag of making any spot, regardless of length, was up 6 percent in 2003, according to a survey by the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

David Perry, director of production at Saatchi & Saatchi and chairman of the 4A's broadcast production committee, said that the increase, the first in three years, was just a reflection of the general rise in the cost of living and consumer price index.

"The industry is doing a really good job of getting control of its costs," Perry said, compared to the 1990s, when "things were increasing at a much higher rate."

The increase translates to a dollar amount of about $14,000, according to the survey, which found the average cost of a 30-second commercial in 2003 to be $372,000.

"I get a sense we're at a plateau and have been for awhile," Perry said. "I'd be surprised if costs jumped up any time in the future. We're much smarter buyers than we used to be as an industry."

Nineteen agencies across the U.S. participated in the survey.