CBS cashed-in with advertising revenue during the M*A*S*H finale, but it was nothing compared to today's numbers
Alan Alda isn't sure if he could handle the pressure that comes with a modern-day advertising price tag.
The name of game in television, as far as business goes, is ad revenue. As a result, we have commercials! Love them or hate them, they're a huge part of the plan for any television network.
Generally speaking, when a big event rolls around, such as a national sports championship game, a televised holiday parade, or a big series finale, networks can drive up the cost of commercials and turn a lot of viewership into a lucrative opportunity.
With that said, it's safe to say Feb. 28, 1983 was a big day and a big opportunity for CBS, as their ultra-hit show M*A*S*H aired its final episode. The country just about came to a stand still for this series finale, which resulted in plenty of record-breaking numbers.
The important number for CBS was the price tag for those ads running during the show. The network knew tens of millions of people would tune in to the final episode of the 11-season series. It's not known if CBS knew an incredible 121 million people would tune in!
No matter what that final number of viewership was going to be, the network knew people were going to watch. As a result, CBS charged sponsers up to $450,000 per 30-second spot in 1983! According to USA Today, the cost of a Super Bowl ad that year was only $400,000.
Wildly, that $450,000 advertisment price is commonplace in modern times, and in some primetime spots, it's even more! According to a 2019-2020 report from AdAge.com, an ad during NBC's Sunday Night Football cost about $685,000 per spot.
As of 2022, a 30-second Super Bowl ad cost about $6.5 million. If the M*A*S*H finale ran today, with the same context in did in 1983, there's a chance it could beat that number, and the kiss that cost $450,000 could cost several millions!
Just the thought of that cost had Hawkeye Pierce actor Alan Alda Tweeting his thoughts during the 2022 Super Bowl.
"In 1983 a 30 second Super Bow ad cost $450,000 for airtime. The Hawkeye/Houlihan kiss in the finale lasted a bit longer than 30 seconds. So it was called the $450,000 kiss," Alda said in the post. "It now costs $7 million for an ad. I don't know if I'm up for this. The pressure. The pressure."
Unfortunatley, there will never be the iconic moment of seeing the M*A*S*H hit the airwaves for the very first time again. The good news is that iconic episode will never fade away.