Internet companies push Super Bowl ad prices up

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The Independent Online

Some Internet companies are paying more to advertise during the heavily watched US National Football League championship game than they have generated in revenue, helping push the average commercial price for the game to a record of about $2 million.

Some Internet companies are paying more to advertise during the heavily watched US National Football League championship game than they have generated in revenue, helping push the average commercial price for the game to a record of about $2 million.

As many as a dozen "dot-com" advertisers are expected to rub shoulders with Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi-Cola, Federal Express, Visa and other longtime advertisers on the 30 January telecast of the Super Bowl.

The game, traditionally the most-watched television program during the entire year, is being shown on the ABC network in the United States and is expected to reach an estimated 100 million viewers.

Dot-com advertisers have bought about 20 percent of the available commercials in the Super Bowl, industry insiders estimated.

Price evidently has been no object as industry insiders say the average charge for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial has soared 25 percent from the old high of $1.6 million on the last NFL championship game broadcast. Super Bowl ad prices are typically the highest on TV.

Marvin Goldsmith, ABC's head of sales and marketing, declined to comment on the prices but said sales have been helped by a strong economy and advertisers' renewed appreciation of broadcast TV's ability to reach a huge audience quickly.

Still, paying more for a 30-second commercial than you have generated in sales is a bold move even at a time when excess is the norm.

"We have not generated a dime yet," conceded Ethan Russman, marketing director of Angeltips.com, an online company that matches entrepreneurs with investors looking for new business concepts.

The company is paying $2 million for Super Bowl exposure with start-up money it raised from investors, mostly from Europe and Asia.

Russman said the exposure from two commercials during the game and a pregame show should build credibility and trust for the company.

"There is nothing else in the advertising and marketing world that matches the Super Bowl," he said.

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