restaurants/fast food and movie studios are also big backers. All told, marketers last season spent some $13.9 billion on sports TV. None of this should come as a surprise to anyone with a passing interest in the TV ad market. Outside of the Academy Awards, Shark Week and a handful of freakishly successful scripted dramas, sports is the only segment that guarantees huge reach and live-audience deliveries -- two conditions that also serve to squash much of the ad avoidance that erodes salable gross ratings points. NFL games alone accounted for 45 of last season's 50 most-watched broadcasts, and 24 of those contests were held outside of the prime-time window. As sports continues to grow, general entertainment dollars are in retreat. Scripted dramas, comedies and reality fare last season drew 5% less than the previous year. Whereas "American Idol" once brought in enough marketing dollars to
literally cover the cost of developing and producing every other show on Fox, the show's rapid decline has had a chilling effect on network sales. According to Kantar, Fox last season took in 38% less in entertainment-targeted sales than in in 2010-11. Declines at ABC and CBS were nowhere near as bad. ABC's entertainment sales dipped 6%, and CBS fell 10% in the 5 year period.
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