GM Keeps Cutting Back... Heart Full... O Loves Liz...

General Motors, traditionally the largest advertiser during the Academy Awards, has dropped its sponsorship this year.

GM KEEPS CUTTING BACK: General Motors, traditionally the largest advertiser during the Academy Awards, spending $105 million during the past decade during the annual telecast, has dropped its sponsorship this year. According to TNS Media Intelligence, the Detroit automaker has had a continuous ad presence dating back to at least 1992. This year GM will be replaced by Audi and Hyundai. TNS Media also reports that ABC, which will air the telecast on Feb. 22, has cut its asking price for a 30-second spot to $1.4 million from the going rate of $1.7 million that has been garnered since 2006. If spots go for $1.4 million, total revenue is expected to be around $66 million to $68 million, down from $81 million last year. During the past nine years, top ad spenders were GM, American Express, PepsiCo, J.C. Penney Co., L’Oréal, MasterCard, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. A J.C. Penney spokeswoman said the company will again serve as the exclusive retail sponsor for the Academy Awards. Advertising isn’t the only category that is trending downward for the Oscars: so are TV ratings, which, in 2008, were 22 percent lower than 2007 and the smallest ever since Nielsen began measuring the show in 1967.

— Amy Wicks

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