With slick, big-budget movies being a big part of our culture these days, the style has permeated into every single aspect of the media, on down to the short 30-second commercials on TV and before the movies. We hear about the exorbitant amount of money companies spend on commercials during big-time events like the Oscars and the Super Bowl, but what about primetime, when all those folks are watching too?


Advertising Age crunched the numbers for the 2010-2011 ad costs for primetime television, and the numbers tell the real story about what people are watching and where the money goes. There’s a big jump toward the top of the heap: at the bottom were Desperate Housewives and Two and a Half Men, where 30 seconds cost $210,064 and $206,722, respectively.


Here’s where the jump happens: at number 4 is Glee, which costs $272,694, and then American Idol’s Wednesday elimination show, which increases to $400,546 (meaning Fox is getting big numbers from corporations). But what’s not surprising is that American Idol tops out even Sunday Night Football for their Tuesday show at $467,617. (You can find all the numbers here, and it’s a fascinating look at the amount companies have spent for ad spots. American Idol tops out at $705,000 for the 2005-2006 season!)


Compared to the return on investment, major companies are spending a drop in the bucket. They’ve been making more and more cinematic and large-scale commercials, spending more money to raise prices to get people to spend more. It’s money that can be spent on better things, just like your money can.



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