Typing Faster

August 5, 2010

Mad Men: Most Successful Show With the Least Amount of Advertising?

Filed under: Future of TV, Mad Men — petertypingfaster @ 9:51 am

There was an interesting article in Advertising Age the other day. In it they take a look at the advertising revenue, or lack thereof, generated by Mad Men. Despite Mad Men‘s continued cultural influence, advertisers simply aren’t ponying up cash to buy spots with the show.

Airings of “Mad Men” took in only $1.98 million in ad revenue in 2009, according to Kantar Media. In 2008, the show nabbed just less than $2.8 million, and in 2007, approximately $2.25 million. These are paltry amounts when one considers that a 30-second ad in an equally buzzy program such as “24” on Fox cost between $200,000 and $280,000 as the show, off its peak, headed into its final season.

Compound this surprising lack of ad revenue with the shows anemic ratings (season four premiered with 2.9M viewers when you factor in the live +7 ratings, but ratings have since fallen back to 2ish million) and one can’t help but start to wonder why AMC keeps making the show.

Advertisers will “only pay so much” to be in high-quality programs such as “Mad Men,” said Kris Magel, exec VP-director of national broadcast at Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Initiative, because its traditional TV reach is limited. “Once that cost hits a ceiling, the network has to make a decision: Can they afford to continue to make the show for the amount of revenue it generates?” he asked. “Sometimes they do, because the halo generated for the network as a whole and its other programs outweighs the expense. And sometimes they can’t.”

The “halo effect” is probably the best explanation. Mad Men is a critical darling, and the longer AMC can keep it on the air the more that halo will burnish the rest of the networks offerings.

Of course the foreign distribution and DVD revenues don’t hurt either.

That broader “after-TV” audience keeps “Mad Men” coming back to the TV screen each summer. Just as the executives at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce try to help their clients sell Lucky Strikes and Glo-Coat to the masses, so too do they attempt to bolster both AMC, which airs the program, and Lionsgate, the show’s production studio.

Each episode of “Mad Men” costs approximately $3 million to produce, estimated Sandra Stern, Lionsgate Television’s chief operating officer, owing to the show’s large cast and the producers’ attention to the smallest historical details. To cover part of its costs, Lionsgate depends on a license fee paid to it by AMC. The licensing cost of a high-end drama could come in between $2 million and $3 million per episode. Meanwhile, Ms. Stern estimates Lionsgate is able to secure “slightly north of” $500,000 per “Mad Men” episode by selling it to international distributors. Digital revenue, DVD sales and merchandising add more dollars to the coffers, though some of those monies are shared with AMC.

While the revenue that comes in isn’t on par with what a broadcast-network crime procedural might generate, she said, “We declare success and victory with a much smaller audience.”




  1. Hey!

    I’ve entered a contest to win a walk-on role on the sexy retro-licious TV show “MadMen”…. but I need your votes to win!

    Click my name (or the link above) to go right to my picture and vote!



    Comment by MadMenGirl — August 21, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

  2. Wow, that’s what I was searching for, what a information! present here at this blog, thanks admin of this website.

    Comment by Henry — June 9, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

  3. Hi there! I was interested to know if setting up a weblog such your own:
    https://petertypingfaster.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/mad-men-most-successful-show-with-the-least-amount-of-advertising/ is challenging to do
    for unskilled people? I’ve been wanting to develop my own blog for a while now but have been turned off because I’ve always assumed it demanded tons of work.
    What do you think? Thank you

    Comment by Dallas refrigerator repairs — June 10, 2013 @ 8:01 am

  4. First of all I would like to say fantastic blog!

    I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Thanks!

    Comment by Yolanda — June 13, 2013 @ 2:28 am

  5. Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you’ve got the
    opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this web site.

    Comment by Sushi EN — June 16, 2013 @ 10:40 am

  6. Hey I am so happy I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was researching on Bing for
    something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say
    thanks for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love
    the theme/design), I donít have time to
    go through it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also included your
    RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great
    deal more, Please do keep up the fantastic b.

    Comment by http://www.iseekblog.com — June 24, 2013 @ 7:29 pm

  7. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

    Comment by upper right back pain gas — July 4, 2013 @ 1:19 am

  8. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to
    come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Outstanding work!

    Comment by Delphia — July 20, 2013 @ 4:11 am

  9. Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where
    I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

    Comment by gym bags — July 25, 2013 @ 4:53 am

  10. If some one needs expert view concerning running
    a blog then i advise him/her too pay a quick visit this website, Keep up the fastidious work.

    Comment by Noella — September 28, 2013 @ 3:15 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: