For a show that isn’t exactly raking in record viewership levels during its final season, Lost still has the potential to generate some serious coin for ABC. According to a report in Advertising Age, the network is looking to charge around $900,000 for a 30-second commercial spot during the drama’s May 23 finale. That’s a far cry from what the alphabet net was collecting at last year’s upfront presentation in New York, when ad spots during Lost were selling for a then-bargain price of roughly $213,000, according to the trade publication.
Rich ad rates are usually limited to those shows that generate the greatest number of viewers, especially in the adults 18-49 demographic. So far this season, Lost is only averaging 12.02 million. Granted, that’s up from last year’s 11.2 million but down significantly from the 15 million-plus fans who tuned into the show from 2004-2006. Still, some advertisers are far more interested in the level of fan devotion rather than the sheer number of devotees who tune into a show. “There are many advertisers willing to pay a reasonable premium for inventory in programs that generate such a highly passionate and rabid fan base,” Kris Magel, exec VP-director, national broadcast at Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Initiative, told Advertising Age. “There is definitely value in that.”
Series finales can certainly boost network coffers. A 30-second spot in the 2005 finale for Everybody Loves Raymond, for example, went for about $1.3 million while adds in the 2004 series finale of Friends cost between $1.5 million and $2.3 million.