Lost Finale Means Big Answers For Fans – And Big Business For ABC

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In this age of DVR, Hulu and TiVO, live TV events are increasingly rare. But advertisers are betting on the fact that fans of Lost are going to be tuned in live May 23, for the much-anticipated final episode. And when we say betting, we mean betting big.

AdAge is reporting that a 30-second commercial spot during the Lost finale is costing around $900,000. That’s almost a 50 percent increase over the normal rates for a Lost episode – just shy of Oscars territory.

My first reaction to the news: What an achievement, for a series to be this popular for this long – no easy feat in an era where shows are killed after just two or three episodes (see: Joe Buck Live). But beyond that, I’m intrigued by how aggressively advertisers will line up behind almost any sure-fire live event.

Must-see-live-TV is an increasingly rare thing nowadays, and obviously companies are willing to pay a premium for access to captive viewers. Now the question for networks: How to get more people to tune in live more often?