Tuesday, February 17, 2009

L'Oreal exit leaves smudge on Oscars

NEW YORK (Mediaweek) – On the red carpet, austerity is generally about as well received as a surprise cameo appearance by Robert Blake, and yet a grim economic outlook could cause the mood at Sunday's Academy Awards to be as subdued as the ceremony that followed the September 11 attacks.

As ABC prepares to host its 34th consecutive Oscars telecast, the network is scrambling to find replacement sponsors. Sources said L'Oreal Paris will sit out the spectacle, leaving ABC without a beauty brand.

Besides losing a backer with deep pockets -- since 2004, L'Oreal's Academy Awards spending has added up to $40.9 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence -- ABC has a significant chunk of unsold inventory. While the network would not comment on how many available spots it had on its hands, as of Friday, media buyers estimated that ABC still needed to move 6-8 spots, or about 12% of the time that would constitute a sellout.

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