- CBS booked an estimated $20 million in ads for its Meghan Markle and Prince Harry interview.
- More than 50 ads aired and slots sold from anywhere between $250,000 and $325,000, agencies say.
- Parent ViacomCBS sold the Oprah Winfrey interview to 80 markets around the world as of March 8.
CBS is expected to rake in millions in ad dollars and international sales from Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
During the controversial two-hour special with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Markle described how the palace failed to support her effort to integrate into the Royal Family and left her suicidal at one stage.
CBS aired 60 ad spots, featuring 56 commercials, including network promos, according to TV measurement firm iSpot.tv. Agency sources estimate that the network could have pocketed as much as $19.5 million, based on a Wall Street Journal report that each 30-second ad sold for around $325,000. CBS declined to comment.
Major advertisers in the show included Toyota and Procter & Gamble, which ran a corporate brand ad as well as spots for its products such as Tide and Bounce. ISpot.tv reports that other advertisers were Allstate, Cottonelle, Josh Cellars and a handful of streamers: Discovery+, AppleTV+, Paramount+, and Netflix.
Two agency sources, however, noted that many ads were sold at around $250,000, with only last-minute marketers paying $325,000. The network also ran promos and local ad spots, which might also bring the number down slightly. CBS, however, also benefitted from additional excerpts that ran during its morning news broadcast and featured a live interview with Winfrey.
The special documentary, which will remain on CBS.com for those who missed it, drew 17.1 million viewers on Sunday night, according to CBS, a huge win for the network fresh off its Super Bowl broadcast. CBS paid around $8 million for the rights to air the Harpo production on the network, the Journal reported.
Separately, sibling ViacomCBS Global Distribution is also selling the special sit-down to overseas TV companies. The network told Insider it has now sold the show in 80 markets, plus American Forces Network.
Gregor Angus, the CEO of streaming service True Royalty TV told Insider, "The near- and long-term beneficiaries of the Oprah interview with Meghan and Harry are quite simply the media companies involved. Harpo licensed the show to CBS for approximately $9M. And it has also been licensed to over 50 territories, which may have brought in another $20M for Harpo and CBS," he said, adding,"ITV and other broadcasters around the world will have easily made back what they paid in licensing fees in ad revenue. It's the biggest factual program in years."
According to Variety, the UK's ITV network bought the show for $1.4 million, while other territories will likely pay less. A CBS spokeswoman declined to detail total what happens to the proceeds from the sales and how much will go back to Winfrey's production company Harpo, which made "CBS Presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A Primetime Special."