Disney Paid ABC $10 Million to Air Little Mermaid Commercial During Oscars


For a third year, ABC offered movie studios the opportunity to have a sponsored integration opportunity during the Oscars telecast. This year, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers were the only studios to use this offer. With this sponsored integration opportunity, the studio can bring out two stars from the film and have them discuss the upcoming movie leading into a trailer commercial of the film.

Melissa McCarthy, playing Ursula in the live-action film, and Halle Bailey, playing Ariel, came onto the Oscars stage, set up the trailer, and it played as the first commercial after the cut to commercials.

The two-minute and twenty-second trailer played for viewers at home, but it was reportedly not played in the Dolby Theater. Many people in the room found it odd that the trailer was not played for guests in the theater. Allegedly, this led to confusion. A commercial break for the Oscars allows guests in the theater to stretch, chit-chat, and use the bathroom.

During the Oscars telecast, basic commercials cost between $1.6 to $2.1 million dollars for a thirty-second block of time. Walt Disney Studios’ use of five of these thirty-minute breaks cost them a pretty penny at roughly $10 million. Since Disney owns ABC, it was paying itself for this premier marketing time. However, IndieWire states that this was a “big chunk” of the marketing budget for the film. IndieWire went on to state, “We’re told by an insider there was no hometown discount given here, however, and the two entities are treated as “church and state.” Actual money changed hands, the person said — it wasn’t “funny money” like one outsider suggested — just like with any other advertiser on any program. Either way, the medicine surely goes down a lot easier when sharing a balance sheet.”

Watch the trailer for “The Little Mermaid” here:

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