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Are ITV flagship primetime shows losing their “X” appeal?

After the recent news that X Factor will be rested for the short term in 2020, ITV returned to a tried and tested format of Saturday night take away, following a hiatus last year for the misdemeanours of one of their flagship talents.

From the latest BARB numbers, it seems ITV were correct in their predictions, with the opening show delivering relatively consistent impacts, versus previous years, across the core demographics.

Accepting that sometimes the tried and tested can be the safest route forward, especially where the opportunity of choice of programming from a viewer’s perspective is ever-increasing, not only across linear TV but on-demand services, surely there is ever increasing pressure to maybe think outside to the box?

Reviewing ITV’s wider portfolio of ‘big hitters’ over the last 3 years, perhaps it’s about time for them to be a little braver…

When they do look to invest in new programming, this again focuses on the constraints of the tried and tested, with the recent release of “The Masked Singer” a format which has had success in America  – if you didn’t watch it, you really didn’t miss out!

Audience numbers for The Masked Singer delivered is in line with the current trends of X-Factor/

Dancing on Ice, so nothing ground-breaking for sure and following the trends of these similar formats will continue to decline as viewers to lose interest, consuming more relevant content at a time that suits them.

All Response Media viewpoint
In conclusion, accepting the majority trends of viewers of these show is in decline, there is still demand from advertisers to deliver big reach numbers for brand lead campaigns in an ever-increasing fragmented marketplace and ITV’s ability to trade a pricing model that is built on supply/demand, the appetite to risk any fundamental shifts in commissioning any grown-breaking new content seems not to be the direction they are currently taking.

As an agency, we understand the need to balance advertisers spend from both an immediate return and long-term growth perspective, measuring both business and brand KPIs and therefore, when the need is right, no matter how tired the content may be, can still aid in delivery for both sets of KPIs.

The Unfair Competitive Advantage (UCA as we pride ourselves on) is how we game the system when evolving testing in these areas; where we look to initially test more on a regional perspective (price and audience penetration dependent), testing of spots on the repeats across daytime and digital portfolio or even the companion shows that follow the main event which delivers smaller numbers, with the core focus to de-risk the investment required to test.

The shows look to be here for the short-to-medium term at least, so understanding how they can be smartly integrated with the TV strategy if the brief fits will be the key to success…albeit I won’t necessarily be viewing from a personal perspective! 

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