AdAge has come out with its annual chart of TV Ad pricing, and if you’re into industry minutia, it’s fascinating to see what a company pays for 30 seconds on, say, Community ($50,700). You can get a rough idea, then, of how much profit a show makes per episode (eight minutes of ad time per show, about six of those devoted to brand commercials, so around $300,000 per episode for Community). There’s even some disconnect between what are the most popular shows and what shows charge the highest rates. For instance, Modern Family ($330,000 per 30 seconds) is the highest rated scripted program on television, but it charges only slightly more than New Girl ($320,000 per 30 seconds) despite a much wider margin in the ratings. Likewise, NCIS is the most watched show on television (20.5 million viewers, $166,000 per 30 seconds) and yet it costs significantly less to advertise on than Sunday Night Football, which receives 20.4 million viewers and charges $545,000 per 30 seconds. It makes sense, of course: People actually watch commercials during live football games, plus football has a more marketable demographic than the geriatrics who watch NCIS.
Among the notable ad prices on the Big 4 networks, Rock Center charges the least amount ($30,000 per 30 seconds), while Whitney is the lowest among scripted programming ($47,000 per 30 seconds, just a tick below Community). Right now, probably the best deal on television is Revolution ($97,000 per 30 seconds), which has comparable ratings to, say, How I Met Your Mother ($186,000), yet it’s nearly half the cost.
Here are the 10 Most Expensive Shows to Advertise on.
1. Sunday Night Football ($545,000)
2. American Idol ($340,000) ($296,000 for the results show)
3. Modern Family ($330,000)
4. New Girl ($320,000)
5. The Simpsons ($286,000)
6. The Family Guy ($276,000)
7. Big Bang Theory ($275,000)
8. Two and a Half Men ($247,000)
9. 2 Broke Girls ($269,000)
10. The Voice ($239,000) ($225,000 for the results show)
The biggest surprises, to me at least, are the rates charges by middling-rated The Simpsons and Family Guy, but now it’s easy to understand why The Simpsons is still going 24 seasons into its run. That show makes a ton of money and may run for another 24 years.