Oscar telecast commercial time snipped

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NEW YORK -- ABC's Academy Awards telecast had 30 seconds less commercial time than last year, according to a report released Wednesday by Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The telecast had 24 minutes of commercial time, down from 24 minutes and 30 seconds for the 2006 program. It's also down from 2004 and 2005, when commercial time was either 27 minutes or slightly higher. ABC also ran three minutes and 50 seconds' worth of promotions for such shows as "Dancing With the Stars," "Lost" and "Ugly Betty."

There were 38 national advertisements for 27 brands, with General Motors Corp. the top advertiser with 3 1/2 minutes of commercials.

GM's commercial time was slightly ahead of second-place Coca-Cola Co. and L'Oreal, which both had three minutes. J.C. Penney bought 2 1/2 minutes worth of time during the Oscars, Nielsen Monitor-Plus said. Coca-Cola's entry was in stark contrast to previous years, when Pepsi Cola was one of the top advertisers.

American Express had the longest commercial, which clocked in at two minutes. Both American Express and McDonald's -- which aired two spots -- are the only companies that have advertised on the Oscars each of the past 14 years.

New to the telecast this year were Apple and Unilever. Apple ran three 30-second spots for its upcoming iPhone, while Unilever ran a minutelong user-generated commercial for Dove Cream Body Wash.

Sunday night's nearly four-hour Oscars telecast averaged 40.2 million viewers and a 14.1 rating/33 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research. It was on the low end of recent Oscar ratings, though viewership was up 1.3 million viewers compared with last year's telecast, which was the second-lowest-rated ever.
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