By Sam Pulling

According to a Variety article from May, NBC is asking for 4.5 million dollars for each 30-second advertisement block for this year’s Super Bowl. That’s $150,000 dollars a second. This price shows an increase of 12.5% over Fox’s asking cost last year. This increase is astronomical over the rise of regular advertising costs. Kiplinger estimated costs this year for business. Under their estimates, advertising costs would stay generally level, with TV advertisements only rising 2%.

Now, why are prices of Super Bowl ads able to rise so much more than the rest of the advertising world?

First of all, the Super Bowl drew in 112.2 million viewers in 2014, an increase of nearly 4 million from the previous year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  That Super Bowl became the most watched TV show in history. For advertisers, that meant reaching 112.2 million consumers with every 30 second ad. 112.2 million. To add some perspective, last week’s ABC’s “Scandal” had 9.98 million viewers, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” had 17.07 million, and NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” got 4.45 million, as can be seen in the chart below.


Now, let’s compare these Super Bowl prices with the advertising spots in the finales of America’s favorite TV shows. 30-second ad spots for the “Seinfeld” finale sold for $2 million each, which with inflation rates, is equal to $2.9 million in today’s money.1 That finale also brought in 76.3 million viewers2. The finale of “Friends” ad-spots also sold for around $2 million, which is about $2.5 million today, per 30-second segment to their 52.5 million viewers3,4.

So, why can the Super Bowl charge so much for each ad block? The Super Bowl pulls in more viewers than the Thursday night line-up of the big 4 combined. It also more than doubles the finale of “Friends,” and comes in at about 1.5 times the viewership of the “Seinfeld” finale. That’s how the Super Bowl can charge so much. If those finales brought in $2 million for their viewership, why shouldn’t the Super Bowl be able to charge more than double for over twice as many viewers?


Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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