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Oscar ads sell out as Billy Crystal takes the helm again

By Noel Young | Correspondent

February 9, 2012 | 3 min read

America's next big advertising beanfeast, the Oscars on February 26, is an advertising sellout.

Billy Crystal: back in charge!

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors in a conference call that ABC had sold out all the ads for the Academy Awards “about a week ago.” Demand was so great that some would-be advertisers had to be turned away, he said.

Sources say ABC was able to get $1.7 million for a spot - roughly the same as last year but less than half what Super Bowl spots were going for last weekend.

Billy Crystal: back in charge!

The Academy Awards draw the fourth-largest audience on television, behind the Super Bowl and the AFC and NFC Championship games.

Advertisers on last year’s Oscars show included AT&T, Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Hyundai, Sprint, Unilever (Dove) and JCPenney.

In 2011, "a mismatched hosting duo and a slate of depressing Best Picture nominees" drove deliveries down 10 percent to 37.6 million viewers, said AdWeek.

This year Oscar favourite Billy Crystal, whose ninth show it will be, replaces last year’s "pairing of a listless and disinterested James Franco and the saucer-eyed, overcompensating Anne Hathaway,"as AdWeek put it.

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The last time Crystal was host in 2004 , the show got 43.6 million viewers––which it hasn't done since.

Crystal was also host of the most-watched Oscars broadcast of all time. In 1998 Titanic lifted 11 gold statuettes - and ABC got 57.3 million viewers.

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