ABC Sells Out of Ad Time in the Oscars

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Jimmy Kimmel will host the 89th Oscars later this month on ABC.
Jimmy Kimmel will host the 89th Oscars later this month on ABC. Credit: ABC/Jeff Lipsky

ABC has sold out of commercial time in the Academy Awards, with the cost for a unit remaining steady despite last year's ratings weakness and the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

Advertisers in this year's celebration of some of the biggest films include Walmart, Samsung, McDonald's, AT&T, Verizon and Anheuser-Busch InBev, ABC said.

Thirty-second spots are going for about $2 million, with some paying as much as $2.5 million, according to several media buyers.

That's despite a 7% decline in viewers for the 2016 Oscars, to 34.4 million people, and an eight-year low in the core 18-to-40 demo. Last year's ceremony, hosted by Chris Rock, was also shrouded in controversy over the lack of non-white nominees, spurring the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite and provoking calls to boycott the awards show.

None of that seems to be keeping advertisers away from what is generally referred to as the Super Bowl for women.

Walmart took over as the exclusive retail sponsor of the Oscars from Kohl's and commissioned several star directors to create three 60-seconds ads that will air in the show. It will be Walmart's first time advertising in the Oscars.

Last year's most memorable marketing moments included Mr. Rock's pitch for Girl Scout Cookies, which the group said was Mr. Rock's idea, and William H. Macy and a gaggle of other stars hawking Samsung Galaxy devices.

The Oscars will air on Feb. 26, hosted by ABC's face of late-night, Jimmy Kimmel.

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