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Business

Will the Breaks Bring in Big Bucks?

Each year millions of viewers all over the world turn on their television sets to watch the coveted Oscar awards, making the cash boxes at ABC ring with huge advertising revenues. But this year might be different.

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Commercial breaks such as this one usually cost a fortune

The Oscars doesn't just draw in the stars and the glamour, but also the bucks.

The cream of all film awards attracts a mammoth viewership as people in over 100 countries sit glued to their television sets to ogle at the glitterati as envelopes are slit open and the golden statuettes presented amid tears and gasps.

ABC which has the exclusive rights to broadcast the show live for five hours, expects about 2 billion people to tune in to the 74th Academy Awards this year.

It's a dream audience for companies to step in with their products and brands during the commercial breaks and they're ready to pay through their nose for that kind of advertising. A rare opportunity to make an immediate and sizeable impact.

Goldoscar

The gold plated "Oscar" statuette that winners at the 74th annual Academy Awards are to receive Sunday in Los Angeles, is shown in this undated handout photo provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. After 40 years in various Los Angeles venues, the Academy Awards return Sunday to Hollywood itself, to a glittering new theater _ Oscar's first permanent home, The Kodak Theatre. (AP Photo/Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

After all the Academy Awards, the second biggest media event in America after the SuperBowl, consistently draws in a huge audience every year.

In the year 2000, ABC was believed to have raked in $61.3 million in advertising revenues during the Oscars.

This year media experts estimate that ABC's asking price for a 30-second spot is about $ 1,25 million.

Dip in the asking price for ad spots?

A price many experts suspect is low compared to the previous years.

Many feel that prices for commercial spots have actually sunk owing to the September 11 attacks and the general beating that the American economy has taken.

Media pundits say that when firms start feeling the pinch, their commercial spots are the first to be slashed.

But despite the slight downturn in companies' eagerness to splurge on advertising during the Oscars, ABC has not had to wait for too long for the 10-minute commercial breaks per programming hour to fill up.

Apparently credit card firms, car makers, chocolate and fast food manufacturers, computer makers and breweries have snatched up the spots since early February.

Some companies will also use the prime time to introduce new products, as has been the trend in the past.

ProSieben in Germany too late

In Germany the ProSieben channel will broadcast the spectacular show at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, albeit only late into the night on account of the time difference.

The inconvenient timing will cost the channel losses in terms of viewership and the prices of advertising spots.

Last year about 260,000 Germans tuned in to ProSieben on the night of the Oscars.

And companies such as Audi, T-Online, Coca-Cola or Pril will pay only about 1,283 euro for a 30-second spot.