CLOSE-UP: GLOBAL BRIEF - Seinfeld sends rates soaring. The costs of advertising in the final episode will hit a new high, John Owen says

If TV buyers think ITV is driving a hard bargain in its World Cup negotiations, they should ask NBC the price of a 30-second spot in Seinfeld. Advertisers jostling for a place in the final episode next month will have to pay as much as dollars 2 million for the privilege.

If TV buyers think ITV is driving a hard bargain in its World Cup

negotiations, they should ask NBC the price of a 30-second spot in

Seinfeld. Advertisers jostling for a place in the final episode next

month will have to pay as much as dollars 2 million for the

privilege.



For some time, premiums for the big network shows have been an accepted

part of the US TV market. But the hour-long finale is set to smash all

the records. The highest price paid in this year’s SuperBowl was dollars

1.3 million.



Can NBC justify its prices? Well, the show is already 75 per cent sold

out, so apparently it can. But how?



In a TV and media world as fragmented as that of the US, instant mass is

a rare and highly valued commodity. As Sean Cunningham, the co-media

director of Ammirati Puris Lintas in New York, explains: ’If your client

has one of three needs - a campaign launch, a product launch or a movie

launch - the premium can be justified.’



Sony Entertainment and Warner Brothers, two advertisers that have booked

their places, fall into the third category. Others, including

Anheuser-Busch, Coors, Fuji Film and Mastercard, have been seduced by

the prospect of audience ratings of 45-plus - which means nearly one in

two US households will be watching. These are Superbowl ratings but they

are only available for an hour.



NBC is doing its best to cash in - cannily, it has built an evening of

programming around the finale. There will be an hour-long tribute

before, the final episode in the latest series of ER straight after, and

the possibility that the cast of Seinfeld will guest on the Tonight show

later in the evening - though this has yet to be confirmed.



During the three hours of confirmed programming, APL estimates NBC will

gross dollars 65 million from about 56 spots. But far from being miffed

by these charges, advertisers are delighted, Cunningham says. ’TV has

not lost its power in this country.’



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).