| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Jan 12 The Fox broadcast network is
selling digital-only advertising packages for next month's Super
Bowl for as much as $700,000 for a 30-second spot, though most
advertisers are buying both online and TV spots, network
officials told Reuters on Thursday.
The strategy is a departure from last year, when broadcaster
CBS Corp sold commercial slots for its digital live
stream only to advertisers who also purchased TV ads.
The Super Bowl, on Feb. 5, traditionally ranks as the year's
most-watched event on U.S. television. The 2016 championship
game for the National Football League attracted about 112
million TV viewers, according to Nielsen data. An additional 1.4
million viewers watched on digital platforms, CBS said.
The game has become a showcase for advertisers as many
viewers tune in just to watch the slickly produced commercials.
Most of this year's Super Bowl advertisers have bought
combined digital and TV packages for the game, although some
have paid for TV-only or digital-only packages, said a spokesman
for Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox.
A 30-second TV spot costs $5 million or more, Fox Sports
President Eric Shanks told reporters at a Television Critics
Association meeting in Pasadena, California.
"The unit price we are getting for the digital stream only
is as high or higher than almost all prime time programs," he
Shanks said he expected the online audience for the Super
Bowl will top last year's, and fans can watch the game on
various digital platforms for free without having to enter a
Fox is close to selling out its Super Bowl ad inventory,
Shanks added. The network is keeping a few slots open for
advertisers that want to jump in once they know which NFL teams
will be playing.
"We learned from having the Cubs in the World Series (that)
if you do end up getting a special match-up, it's good to have a
few in your hip pocket," Shanks said. "We are holding a few
The Super Bowl will air after a regular season of declining
TV ratings for NFL games. Shanks said the games on Fox ended
about 6 percent lower than the previous season.
The size of the Super Bowl TV audience will depend in part
on which teams make it to the game, Shanks said.
"The mystique around the team, the star power, that really
dictates whether you are at the upper end of the Super Bowl
range or the lower end of a modern Super Bowl range," he said.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Dan Grebler)