ABC is said to get as much as US$2.6 million for Oscar ads

A view of the Oscar Statue during preparations for the 90th annual Academy Awards week in Hollywood, California in 2018. (AFP pic)

LOS ANGELES: ABC is still commanding strong ad prices for the Academy Awards, despite years of declining ratings and a fruitless attempt to find a host.

The Walt Disney Co.-owned network is getting prices between US$2 million and US$2.6 million for every 30-second spot, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The awards will be broadcast from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Feb 24.

Even with a smaller audience, the Oscars remain the most prestigious TV event outside of sports. It’s also a show that people still prefer to watch live, making it more desirable for advertisers.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is attempting to make the broadcast shorter and more compelling. This year’s show also won’t have a traditional host, though that wasn’t the original plan. Comedian Kevin Hart stepped down from the role after criticism of his past homophobic comments on Twitter, and no replacement emerged.

The situation hasn’t affected advertiser interest or the number of spots available for sale, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the prices are not public.

The Super Bowl is the top draw for advertisers, with 30-second commercials fetching more than US$5 million. Still, that event saw prices flatten this year.

The first nationally televised Oscars was hosted by Bob Hope in 1953. Since then, the program has generated the highest ratings among awards shows. Advertisers that have signed up this year include Walmart Inc. and LVMH.