Televison Sponsorships A La Oscar

02/27/2005

Did you know that that Academy Awards changed the course of television award sponsorships?

The Oscar Challenge
 It was 6-weeks to showtime and 4 of the major sponsors had reneged on their agreement to fund the 25th Academy Awards.  Back in 1953, the Oscar Awards were financed by the 8 major film studios.  With the lights about to go out, the Academy had to quickly find $100,000 or the show would not go on.
Question to Diva Marketers
What would you do if your anchor sponsor/s pulled the plug seconds before a major event?

Oscar Award Solution
Television networks had been courting the Academy for broadcast rights to air the Award show for sometime. So it may seem like a no brainer for the Academy to explore that option. But keep in mind in 1953, TV was quickly becoming hot competition for film makers. Did the prestigious Academy want to align with the scalawags of the new media who were stealing their customers?

A crisis can  make for strange bedfellows. The Academy signed an exclusive deal with NBC/RCA for TV and radio rights.

RCA Victor had the honor of being the first TV award show sponsor. For $100,000 (which by the way, just covered production costs) they got 6 commercial breaks and 2 station ID breaks on the 90-minute program.

Rca_tv_ad"The spots were for the RCA television, radios and victrolas. The RCA brand was visible on the side of the stage, as well as on the  marquee outside the Pantages Theater, were the awards were held in Hollywood." Academy librarian Libby Wertin.

The awards scorded a  Neilson Media Research 49.7 rating and the show was seen in 10.9 million homes with a 82 share.

To borrow a line from Casablanca. "Looks like this was the start of a beautiful friendship."  And it was indeed! Jump to Oscar Awards 2005. 25 different sponsors. $1.5 million per 30-second spot.

Marketing Lessons Learned
-Think outside the box.
-Take a few risks.
-Rethink partnership opportunities with your competitors.

Heard it from Media Life

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