"Survivor" Link Hikes Super Bowl Ads to $2.4M



Thursday,November 2,2000


“Survivor II” hasn’t aired yet – but it’s already helping CBS jack up Super Bowl ad prices to record numbers.

CBS is commanding $2.3 million to $2.4 million for a 30-second Super Bowl spot – up from last year’s $2.2 million for a 30-second ad, according to Broadcasting & Cable magazine.

And it’s all thanks to “Survivor II: The Australian Outback,” the much-anticipated sequel to CBS’s summer blockbuster “Survivor,” which will debut directly after the Super Bowl Jan. 28.

“Survivor II” is expected to be a ratings behemoth, much like last summer’s “Survivor,” which scored record ratings for CBS as it followed the melodrama of 16 castaways on a remote island near Borneo.

The “Survivor” finale, which aired in late August, was one of the year’s most-watched programs.

Joe Abruzzese, president of CBS Network Sales, told Broadcasting & Cable that he expects CBS to have sold 90 percent of its ad inventory by Thanksgiving, in anticipation of “Survivor II.”

CBS will reap further advertising benefits since it’s starting this year’s pre-game show at noon – two hours earlier than last year’s pre-game coverage, which aired on ABC.

Experts expect that longer lead time – read: more ads – will help CBS come close to equaling the record $150 million Fox accrued for the 1999 Super Bowl.

ABC, by comparison, netted roughly $130 million for last year’s big game, in which the St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans.

Among the advertisers for the Super Bowl – traditionally the year’s most-watched, highest rated telecast – are Anheuser-Busch, Reebok, General Motors, Target, Pepsi, Frito-Lay and Visa.

Abruzzese said he expects about 10 dot-com companies to advertise during the Super Bowl – a drastic drop from last year, when 19 dot-com companies advertised during the techie-stock boom, which has since faded.