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Cashing In On The Oscars

The biggest winner of the Oscars has already started to collect. It's not a celebrity or producer, it's ABC. The network recently wrapped up its ad sales for the telecast on the 25th, grabbing more than $1.6 million per thirty-second spot, for over $80 million dollars in revenue. That's double the revenue in 1998, and up from $72 million total last year. It's not just that a lot of eyeballs are drawn to the awards ceremony -- last year 76.6 million watched. It has a high percentage of female viewers, which is pure gold for advertisers. Hence the list of A-listers who paid up for the prime space.

ABC doesn't disclose a full list of advertisers, but we can expect the same big players. The top five Oscar advertisers of the past ten years -- General Motors , American Express , Pepsico , JC Penney , and McDonald's . And just like the pricey ads in the Super Bowl, advertisers use this precious time for their newst, most impressive campaigns - knowing that the ads will get plenty of press coverage and the spending is focused up-top. According to a study by TNS Media Intelligence the top five advertisers have accounted for 47% of the total network ad spending over the past 12 years.

There's been a lot of talk about "award show fatigue," so with ad prices hitting sky-high levels this year, it'll be a crucial one in determining whether they can continue charging this much!

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.