Monday, August 3, 2009

Want a Super Bowl spot? Give me a bid!

CBS is taking an unorthodox approach to selling commercial time on this season's Super Bowl. The network, according to Advertising Age, is telling advertisers, "let's work to create a customized advertising package around the event, then determine a value."

Traditionally, the Super Bowl broadcast network will pre-determine the value of a 30-second or 60-second spot and then begin selling. This approach by CBS suggests that the economy is taking its toll on even the most valuable commercial real estate on TV--the Super Bowl, which is annually the most viewed television event in the U.S.

One source said that CBS will seek $2-3 million for a Super Bowl slot. However, the network is telling potential advertisers that pricing will be determined by where the ad runs on the telecast as well as how much time is purchased. In addition, the network will work to package pre-game opportunities along with product/message placement within programming.

In 2008, Fox sought $2.7 million for a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl. Earlier this year, NBC went after advertisers with a $3 million price tag for its commercials. It successfully sold inventory early in the process but struggled to sell off the remaining 20% or so after the economy went south late last year.

CBS' strategy could work well if the economy picks up between now and the telecast in early 2010--naming a price now would only kill its chances of asking for more later on.

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