Live TV shows are among the most popular on television. The Voice and The Bachelor—along with The Bachelor‘s multiple spin-offs—maintain their audiences season after season. In fact, this year’s two-hour Bachelor finale gained more viewers than the previous year’s, despite an industry trend of flat viewership, according to Variety. It created the network’s strongest Monday in two years. And NBC’s The Voice was even stronger, emerging as the top series of the night.
The shows are innately social, Billie Gold, vice president and director of programming research at ad agency Amplifi US, told AdAge. “These shows are built for real-time conversation and social media, which certainly help nourish the brand,” she said. The entire Bachelor franchise, including live wraparound specials and live after-season programming like After the Rose, brought in around $187.3 million during the 2014-15 season. It’s so successful that ABC is creating still more live components.
Companies are lining up to get in on the live TV game. GE is spending most of its advertising budget on live TV shows. GE CMO Linda Boff has called this kind of programming “advertising gold.”
Because of their popularity and reach, live TV shows are important ways for brands to connect with live audiences. Smart brands are going even further by integrating content from the shows into their commercials. For example, the recent broadcast of Hairspray Live! aired live commercials Reddi-wip, Oreo, and Toyota using sets and cast and crew members. Clorox is harnessing the power of live TV shows with its “Bleachable Moments” program for The Bachelorette.
Its television commercials use the program’s tropes to create funny situations, such as a spot by AKQA in which a Bachelorette and one of her suitors have been rolling around on the grass, leading to grass stains on her white jeans. Further extending the franchise of the live television shows, Clorox also sponsors “bleachable moments” videos on the ABC website that feature actual footage from the show.
Programmatic Goes Live
While these live TV shows can definitely garner huge, engaged audiences, they’re still labor-intensive for media buyers. Programmatic platforms will help local station groups serve media buyers more efficiently and manage their inventories more effectively.
Carat recently reserved ad inventory across five local station groups programmatically, according to AdExchanger. The upfront commitment, executed through Videa, will place commercials on full-schedule inventory from Cox local affiliate stations throughout the first half of 2017. Each station group provided details about its inventory and set its own rules. Without a programmatic platform, Carat would have had to negotiate separately with each station group, a process that might have taken weeks.
Viewership data and audience attributes will be applied to the inventory, allowing Carat to find the best audiences for its clients’ products and services. In the meantime, Carat enjoys greater scale with lower overhead for the buy.
Programmatic provides advertisers with the best of both worlds: Mass reach to the avid fans who love live TV shows, data to make their campaigns more efficient, and a platform that streamlines the process. We’re sure the bachelors and bachelorettes of media will fall in love with this.