With the 2012 Summer Olympics starting a little more than a month into the summer TV schedule, its clear this season brings more than the usual break marked by reruns and reality shows. This summer introduces new shifts and challenges for DRTV advertising and marketers, but with experience and proper attention to detail, new opportunities as well.
The 2012 Summer Olympics in London are the main contributor to all of this flux. Airing from July 27th to August 12th, the Summer Games are a huge draw for advertisers because of high viewership numbers and ratings. Even the Olympic Trials have garnered huge numbers. NBC’s coverage of the trials recently topped the Sunday night primetime spot amongst broadcast networks. While the Olympic Games can cause headaches for DRTV marketers by shrinking inventory that is traditionally available during the summertime lull, one challenge it can solve (at least temporarily) is the DVR dilemma.
Even as the number of people watching time shifted TV continues to grow (Nielsen), the Olympics represent live, must-see appointment viewing. During such a tight time frame where major competitions are happening nightly, the results of a given sporting event can only stay unknown to viewers for so long, especially in a Facebook world. The learning here exists in finding opportunities where appointment viewing still applies – sporting, entertainment or otherwise.
In addition to reruns and syndication, summer brings a lot of experimentation in the form of reality contests and TV specials. While broadcast’s summer lineups may seem like a departure from the highly rated dramas coming to a close in May, they are sometimes a predictor for success. Five of last season’s 10 most popular shows (reality-based) were all tested in the summer (Slate). In June, NBC launched a two night Justin Bieber special which scored huge with kids ages 2-17. Similarly, E! Entertainment’s special on July 16th will air a rare interview and music video premiere with iconic rock band No Doubt. The TV specials might serve as an opportunity for DR markers to target specific audiences via demographically compelling content. In the children’s space this may prove most beneficial. As of July 8th, the top three cable networks ranked by total average viewers were Disney, Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network (TV by the Numbers).
The Summer Olympics are a microcosm of the changing media economy. As major events or changes in cable and broadcast occur, new opportunities for DRTV open up in the space. From daytime broadcast to primetime cable, it’s key to understand how every aspect (inventory, pricing, etc.) is affected and how to effectively help your brand during these shifts.