There is fairly remarkable story in today’s WSJ about how escalating demand and sorely limited supply have pushed ad rates on major sites up to “Super Bowl” levels. Specifically, the front page slot for large display ads at Yahoo, AOL,and MSN are sold out well in advance, as much as eighteen months out. The upshot:
The surging demand is allowing big rate increases at the largest portals, the prime beneficiaries of the growth. Yahoo said last month that prices increased by “double digits” in the third quarter from a year earlier, while AOL says prices for some ad units have increased as much as 20% since January.
MSN says it currently charges between several hundred thousand dollars and $1 million for a prime, 24-hour ad spot on its home page. That’s up from about $25,000 to $50,000 four years ago.
“It’s starting to get into Super Bowl territory,” says Sean Finnegan, U.S. Director of OMD Digital, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. that buys ads for clients such as Dell Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.
By contrast, the average price of a 30-second TV ad for last February’s Super Bowl was $2.4 million, while a full-page color ad in People magazine costs $228,275. A 30-second spot on this week’s episode of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” which had 26.5 million viewers, cost $574,504, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.