Advertising revenue at the Oscar night managed to raise $72 million (Dh264m) from an estimated 26 minutes of advertising time.
It fell short by 23 per cent over last year's collection of $81m and matched the figures of 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
After Superbowl falling prey to the current recession, advertising industry had very little hopes for other major events, including the Oscars. Even though Superbowl did manage to sell advertising for a whopping $206m for a day-long event, it was much below the expected figures from industry professionals. Three of the regular advertisers at the Superbowl, including General Motors, had withdrawn from the event, which made room for many newcomers including GoDaddy.com.
Kate Winslet, Sean Penn and Penelope Cruz were not the only ones to make a debut at the Oscars. Hyundai and Sprint Nextel were among those advertising for the first time. Hyundai is the second South Korean company coming to the rescue of US advertising. Kia replaced GM at the Superbowl slots in February. Two of the regulars at the Oscars, GM and L'Oreal, stayed away from the screen glory.
At a staggering figure of $72m for the entire event, American Broadcasting Corporation earned more than $2.76m per minute and every second clocked in about $46,153 – a financial boon for ABC and the entire US advertising industry as such.
Dean DeBiase, Chief Executive Officer of TNS Media Intelligence, voiced the same notion in the official media communiqué. "This year's tumultuous economic climate was both a boon and a bane to ABC's Academy Awards telecast. While several major advertisers dropped out of this year's event, it allowed new brands to participate.
"Despite a challenging business climate and an overall downward trend in audience ratings, marketers understand the unique power of TV advertising for marquee events such as the Academy Awards."
In the absence of conventional advertisers GM and L'Oreal, Hyundai was the top sponsor, with eight commercial spots taking up four-and-a-half minutes; costing almost $12.46m. Coca-Cola and JC Penney also bought eight spots; Coke had four minutes of ad time, and Penney had three and a half.
Two of the top advertisers, Hyundai and Sprint Nextel, were first time advertisers, along with other newbies Bristol-Myers Squibb, Disney Touchstone Pictures, Hoover, Paramount Pictures and Maytag. ABC also increased its own exposure at the Oscar night to six minutes, up from five minutes and 40 seconds and the most since 2006.
Encouraging the new set of advertisers, the network dropped the price of a 30-second unit in the awards show to $1.4m from between $1.65m and $1.7m, according to TNS, which estimated that last year's Oscars generated about $81m. The telecast drew more viewers than last year's Oscar show, but it still ranked as the third-least-watched Academy Awards. Nielsen ratings recorded a 13 per cent jump in total viewers compared with the year before, to 36.3 million.