Royal interview ad spot reportedly priced at US$325k for 30 seconds

Ever since the exclusive interview between the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey premiered yesterday, the Internet has been abuzz about the topic. The two-hour interview that premiered on CBS reportedly paid a licence fee of between US$7 million and US$9 million for the rights to Winfrey's production firm Harpo, The Wall Street Journal reported. According to WSJ, CBS sought approximately US$325,000 for 30 seconds of commercial time during the special interview, which was about twice the usual price of ad time during that time slot. Meanwhile, Harpo also approached Comcast Corp's NBC and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, WSJ said.

Under the partnership, CBS also has rights to licence the interview in international markets. The interview premiered at 8pm Eastern Standard Time in the US after CBS's popular show "60 Minutes".  In the UK, British TV network ITV reportedly acquired exclusive rights to the interview for about US$1.4 million, according to media reports. Sky and Discovery were also said to be vying for the exclusive.

Citing statistics from Nielsen, WSJ said approximately 17.1 million individuals in the US watched the interview when it first premiered. Although it is "one of the most-watched events" on TV this year, surpassing the Golden Globes which attracted 5.4 million viewers, WSJ said it is still behind the Super Bowl which drew 90 million viewers on the channel in February.

Viewership numbers, however, still paled in comparison to the 1999 interview between retired broadcast journalist Barbara Walters and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, who was embroiled in an affair with former US president Bill Clinton. The 1999 interview, according to WSJ, had about 70 million viewers. Meanwhile, hashtags such as #OprahMeganHarry, #MeghanAndHarry, #MeghanMarkle and #Meghan were trending on Twitter yesterday.

According to statistics from Meltwater from 7 to 9 March, mentions surrounding the interview hit 1.68 million, 385% more than the previous week. Most of it came from Twitter (1.36 million) followed by Facebook (174k) and news sites (62.2k). Among the list of trending keywords included "royal family", "interview", "black racism", "exact reason", and "harry and meghan". Topic discussion categories online also included "Meghan", "Archie", "Piers Morgan", "Duchess of Sussex" and "Queen".

Majority of the sentiment was neutral (66%) while 24% was negative. Meanwhile, about 106k mentions expressed the emotion of love while about 88k expressed sadness. This was followed by emotions of anger (44k), joy (35k) and surprise (30k). Only 8k mentions online expressed fear.

According to Meltwater, the top hashtag used was #oprahmeghanharry, with more than 170k mentions. Next was #harryandmeghanonoprah with close to 90k mentions. Most of the chatter mainly came from the US (close to 320k) and the UK (more than 180k). In this case, the top subreddits on Reddit were r/ukpolitics, r/television, r/unpopularopinion, and r/Deuxmoi. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Nielsen and Twitter for statistics on viewership, social chatter and PR value.

During the interview, Winfrey and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex addressed topics including race and mental health. Multiple media reports including WSJ said a member of the royal family asked how dark their son's skin colour would be prior to his birth. The Duchess also said her mental health had taken a toll ever since she became a member of the royal family, leading her to seek help for suicidal ideation.

Photo courtesy: Official Instagram account of the Sussex Royals