Here’s one more mystery surrounding the end of “Lost”: Will ABC be able to charge the jacked-up rates it wants to advertisers seeking spots in the final episode?
The answer is “yes,” according to Ad Age, which says a survey of media buyers shows that ads on the May 23 finale are fetching between $850,000 and $900,000 per 30 seconds. That’s four times more than the average ad during a regular episode of the show, which costs about $213,000.
The high cost of the ads represents a bet that people tuning into the finale will do so as it airs live, rather than waiting to watch it on their DVRS a few days after the fact. Ad Age notes that the premium price is also partly a result of the passion of the show’s fans, who are more engaged in their show than average viewers. “There is definitely value in that,” Kris Magel of media-buying firm Initiative tells the magazine.
“Lost” is averaging just under 12 million viewers per episode this season (with DVR viewing included). It’s a safe bet that the finale will draw a somewhat bigger audience, but it probably won’t score the huge viewership of past series enders like “M*A*S*H,” “Seinfeld” and “Friends.”
Ads in the 1983 finale of “M*A*S*H,” for instance, cost about $450,000 per 30 seconds. That translates to just under $1 million in 2010 dollars — but considering that more than 100 million people watched the episode, that’s a pretty good bargain.
“Seinfeld” charged between $1.4 million and $1.8 million for its finale, which drew 76 million people, while the “Friends” finale in 2004 (52.5 million viewers) charged an average of about $2 million per spot. “Everybody Loves Raymond” got $1.3 million for ads in its 2005 closer, which scored 33 million viewers.
Photo credit: ABC