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There’s more to summer than football

Last year, the TV market saw seismic shifts in terms of viewing and revenue. As people across the country stayed in and watched more TV than ever, many advertisers paused their offline media activity due to their inability to fulfill the services and, or products they were promoting. TV revenue suffered the most within media budgets, with cuts of approximately £500m year-on-year (YoY).

As a result of what happened in 2020, there was always going to be growth in revenue and a decline in TV impacts as the national lockdown eased this year, and for June for example, revenue is estimated to be up c.55% YoY. This figure, however, is heavily inflated by ITV’s huge summer schedule across their terrestrial and digital channels.

With the Euros fast approaching, though ITV won’t release June revenue figures just yet, NAR reports indicate an excess of 88% increase in revenue YoY, vs the aforementioned market estimate of 55%. On top of this, they also have their flagship ITV2 show Love Island back on our screens from June. Although Channel 4 (C4) are estimating an optimistic 55% increase YoY for June and Sky 30%, this may beg the question: is it possible to reach as many TV viewers in June and July, 16-34 adults in particular, without buying into the Euros or Love Island – which for many advertisers is way beyond their TV budgets?

Well, the answer is most certainly yes. That said, however, advertisers and agencies need to be more strategic in the way they do this.

Firstly, broadcasters themselves are making a point of counter-scheduling against the Euros in particular. For C4, the strategy has been to deliver a strong Q1 into April knowing they would have a tougher Q2. However, their schedule will still feature a significant amount of first-run, broad appeal, new and returning series as detailed below. In their own words, they “are counter-scheduling. Not running away.” For example:

  • Saturdays will feature more female and upmarket movies and royal documentaries.
  • Handmaid’s Tale will air on Sundays.
  • Older skewing features will air at 8pm including Love it or List it and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.
  • Established broader titles will remain with Celebrity Gogglebox, Bake Off Professionals, 24 Hours in A&E.
  • And when England plays Scotland on Friday, June 18th they will be moving Gogglebox to 10pm.

Beyond C4, if the Euros and Love Island aren’t on your TV plans, Sky and the smaller broadcasters also offer potential. In June, Sky are celebrating Pride by showcasing some of the best series and films that have helped to tell LGBTQ+ stories. There’s also a 50% increase in Sky Original content this year vs 2020 so that’s a huge draw for the sales house. Examples are shows such as Liverpool Narcos on Sky Documentaries and the return of Intelligence on Sky One. For those advertisers wanting to target sports fans without buying into the Euros, Sky Sports News will be a key channel for the sports audience as they’ll have the Euros Reports running. And, of course, there is still other sports content in summer, with the PGA golf tour, Formula 1, and cricket.

All Response Media viewpoint

After a tough year, there are not many advertisers who have the TV budgets to access a half-time break in the Euros games, or a spot in Love Island. If you’re a brand that is running TV campaigns intending to drive 1+ coverage and brand awareness, there’s no doubt that this should be a route to consider. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that whilst the share of viewing will be down across the other broadcasters, this doesn’t mean the potential to grow and test on TV isn’t there.

It could offer a perfect opportunity to target an audience other than 16-44 Males or 16-34 Females, taking advantage of the counter-schedules available on C4, Sky, and the smaller sales houses. Daytime campaigns should still deliver impacts outside of the Euros games too and continue to drive that efficiency that we’re always aiming to deliver for our clients.

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