'American Idol' Reboot Costing Advertisers $200,000, Going Against 'The Voice'

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ABC is bringing back the trailblazing music competition series.
ABC is bringing back the trailblazing music competition series. Credit: Walt Disney World/Steven Diaz

ABC's reboot of "American Idol" is costing advertisers around $200,000 for a 30-second spot, according to media buyers, who say they have purchased inventory for the show on Sunday and Monday nights.

ABC has not said what nights it plans to run the reality singing competition when it returns in the spring. A spokeswoman for the network declined to comment Tuesday.

While right now there doesn't look like there would be much competition for "Idol" on Sunday nights, it would presumably be up against NBC's own reality singing juggernaut "The Voice" on Mondays. The spring season of "The Voice" will include Kelly Clarkson -- the very first "Idol" winner -- as a judge.

"Dancing with the Stars" typically airs on Monday nights from March through May. It is unclear whether the reality dancing competition will move to another night.

For at least a half of a decade, "American Idol" was the costliest show for advertisers on TV. It easily fetched more than $500,000 for a 30-second ad, running neck-in-neck with NBC's "Sunday Night Football." But by the end of its run on Fox in 2016, advertisers were paying less than $200,000 for 30 seconds.

This time around, advertisers are paying just under to a bit over $200,000, according to media buyers. Those figures don't not include the price of brand integrations, such as the iconic red Coca-Cola cup that was once just as much a part of the show as returning host Ryan Seacrest.

At its peak, "Idol" was watched by over 30 million people. The season finale on Fox averaged 13 million viewers and a 3.0 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic.

At least one media buyer expects "Idol" to generate a rating slightly lower than NBC's "America's Got Talent," which has been pulling about a 2.6 rating this summer. The spring 2017 season of "The Voice" averaged 10.4 million viewers and a 2.2 rating in the demo.

"Idol" did not go up against "The Voice" in its previous life because Fox aired it on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Despite much-reduced ratings in its final season, "Idol" still managed to attract bigger audiences than much of its competition on TV. And for marketers, the show introduced new forms of advertising. AT&T, for example, was the first to get viewers to use text messaging to vote for their favorite contestants.

ABC will look to revamp the ad experience in its version of the show. Rita Ferro, who leads ad sales for the Disney/ABC TV Group, has said that while product placement is available for clients that want it, the focus will be more on branded content opportunities and extending ads across the company's other networks and digital assets.

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