Oscars Ads Sell Out Unusually Early

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Marking the earliest sellout in recent years, the ABC network has sold out virtually all of the available advertising for the March 2, 2014, Academy Awards, a source confirms to The Hollywood Reporter.

ABC declined comment but sources say that they have scored record prices of as high as $1.9 million for a 30-second ad during the three-hour show, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

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The past high for an Oscar ad was a little over $1.8 million in the pre-recession days of 2008. Prices fell after the global economic crisis hit, but this year are back to pre-panic levels and even above that.

The Academy Awards also are helped by scarce availability for ads. Under its deal with the network, the Academy limits the number of spots during the show to about 10 minutes per hour, well below the 14 minutes per hour on other shows.

Oscar ratings have been uneven over the years, often tied to the popularity of the movies and stars that are nominated. However, since the Academy went to 10 best picture nominees, and made other changes, the show's viewership has increased. In 2013, the telecast – hosted by Seth McFarlane -- drew an average audience of 40.3 million total viewers and scored an impressive 13.0 rating among adults 18 to 49. That made it the most-watched entertainment telecast since 2010.

The 2013 Oscars also grew the audience for the second straight year (up 3 percent) and was up 11 percent in adults 18-49. It was the second-most-watched Oscars show since 2005.

The last show also showed strong gains in two key areas where the Academy Awards have been weak – younger viewers and men. In 2013, viewing by those 18 to 34 was up 20 percent; and viewing by men 18 to 34 soared 34 percent.

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