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Report: Writers strike spikes 'American Idol' ad rates to $1 million plus


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/14/2008 

Already a ratings magnet, the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike could apparently make American Idol even more lucrative for advertisers.

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Fox initially began selling commercials for Idol's upcoming seventh season for as much as $750,000 per 30-second spot, but advertisers are now paying "$1 million or more" for a single commercial that would air closer to the show's late-May finale broadcast, "people familiar with the situation" told the Los Angeles Times in a Sunday report.

"You have the No. 1 program in television for the last four years, and now it's going up against even weaker competition," ad-buying firm executive Ray Dundas told the Times. "Idol is going to do very, very well."

While Fox declined to disclose to the Times how much it makes from the show,  Idol was a goldmine for advertisers even without the strike -- the Spring 2007 sixth season collected $810 million in revenue, according to TNS Media Intelligence. 

That represented a 39% increase over Idol's Spring 2006 fifth season, and the Times reported some analysts feel the show's ad revenue could climb another 20% this year due to the strike.

American Idol's 18 sixth-season Tuesday broadcasts averaged 30.3 million viewers (about 900,000 viewers less than the fifth-season) and the show's 18 Wednesday broadcasts averaged 30.6 million viewers (about a 400,000 increase over the fifth-season); with an average of 30.7 million total viewers watching the show's finale.  

The show finished the 2006-2007 television as the No. 1 show among both total viewers and the Adults 18-49 demographic for the third straight year. 

"I'm being told this year, it should be a bumpy year because of the writer's strike," said executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told reporters recently, later clarifying "bumpy" means the show will draw higher ratings due to fact that nearly all broadcast network scripted programming is likely to be in repeats. 

"Hopefully it's going to be a good year because we've got good talent, and I think we will fluctuate year-on-year with that talent.... There will be very little else on, apart from repeats."


(Photo credit Fox)


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