ABC Sells Out Its Oscars Inventory, With Some 30-Second Spots Going for More Than $2.8 Million

The network will see record ad revenue from the March 4 telecast

Last year's Oscars was the least-watched since 2008, but it was still the top-rated entertainment telecast of 2017. Getty Images
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Academy Awards voting continues until next Tuesday, but ABC’s ad sales team has already completed its Oscars business. ABC said it has sold out of this year’s inventory a week and a half ahead of the March 4 telecast, which the network said is the fastest Oscars sellout in its history.

This year’s 30-second spots are selling for more than $2.6 million, with some topping $2.8 million. This year’s Oscars ad revenue yielded high single-digit increases over last year’s telecast, where 30-second spots went for as much as $2.5 million.

“In addition to being the most highly viewed event that celebrates storytelling and excellence in film, the Oscars provides advertisers opportunities to engage with viewers in meaningful ways during a cultural moment they care about,” said Disney-ABC advertising sales president Rita Ferro in a statement. “In celebration of the 90th Oscars, we worked alongside advertisers who developed custom creative–featuring female empowerment, inclusiveness and uplifting themes—that will be sure to resonate with our audience like never before.”

This year’s top sponsors include AT&T, Cadillac, Google, Rolex, Samsung and Walmart. Other brands include AARP, Bubly, Discover Card, Disney Parks, Ferrero, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, MGM, Microsoft, Nest, Netflix, Nike, T-Mobile, Twitter, Verizon, Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney World.

Despite one of the craziest moments in Oscars history—Faye Dunaway announcing the wrong winner for Best Picture, giving the trophy briefly to La La Land before it was ultimately awarded to the rightful winner, Moonlight—last year’s Oscar ceremony only drew 32.9 million viewers, making it the second lowest-rated Academy Awards telecast since 1974, which is as far back as Nielsen has telecast data.

Its 9.1 rating among 18-to 49-year-olds was off 13 percent from 2016’s 10.5, which at the time was the smallest 18-49 Oscars audience in at least two decades.

However, the telecast still ended up as the fifth most-watched telecast last year, and the top-rated entertainment program.

Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted last year’s ceremony, will return as this year’s emcee. He joked last month that if there’s another Oscars snafu, “literally everyone who works at ABC should be fired.”

ABC will broadcast the Oscars through 2028.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.