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December 19, 2014

'Grey's Anatomy' Airs Most Expensive Ads

by Gary Susman, posted Oct 27th 2009 5:00PM
Grey's AnatomyGot an extra $240,462 stuffed into your mattress? Then you could buy a single 30-second commercial spot on 'Grey's Anatomy,' which, according to a report in Advertising Age, is the most expensive ad buy among primetime scripted network series.

On the other hand, a mere $48,803 will buy you 30 seconds on the new crown jewel in NBC's primetime lineup, 'The Jay Leno Show.'

The Ad Age report, which breaks down the cost for 30-second ads on every fall primetime network show, notes that sponsor spending is down across the board compared to last year, when that same 'Grey's Anatomy' spot would have cost you $326,685. One of the few shows whose ad rates have gone up is 'The Big Bang Theory' ($191,900, compared to $135,357 last year), thanks in part to an improved time slot.

The most lucrative ad spots overall belong to NBC's 'Sunday Night Football,' at $339,700. (Last year, though, the sportscast commanded $434,792 for a spot.) That ranking is likely to change this winter when 'American Idol' returns. Those ads are expected to start at $360,000 and rise to $490,000 as the competition draws to a climax in the spring.

Among new series, the top ad buy is 'FlashForward' ($175,724), followed by 'The Cleveland Show' ($158,701), 'Modern Family' ($130,388), and 'Glee' ($127,350). The least expensive ad buy among new shows is 'The Vampire Diaries,' which sucks just $38,966 from each sponsor's wallet.

Jay LenoAmong the cheapest of the new series is 'Leno,' whose 30-second ads run from $48,803 (during the Friday dead zone) to $65,678 (on Tuesdays, when its lead-in is 'The Biggest Loser'). That may seem like chump change (and a minimal vote of confidence from advertisers) for a guy who raked in billions for NBC over 17 years on 'The Tonight Show.' Then again, those are gross numbers, not net; they don't take into account how dirt-cheap Leno's show is to produce (which was one of NBC's chief reason for scrubbing its costly 10PM drama slate).

Other caveats about Ad Age's figures: They're based on what advertisers spent during the upfront period this summer, before anyone knew for certain what the audience size and demographics would be for any of the new shows. Also, advertisers tend to buy spots in packages, not a la carte.

Finally, you'll notice that the prices don't necessarily reflect shows' Nielsen-rated popularity. If they did, it would be 'NCIS' (at $133,304, not even one of the top 10 buys) that commanded top dollar, not 'Grey's Anatomy.'

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