The reality series, widely dubbed Richard Desmond’s most tactical move to date since acquiring the channel last year, has helped Channel 5 to bolster viewing figures over the past few months, having spent millions signing up the likes of American Pie star Tara Reid, The X Factor’s Jedward and reality favourites Kerry Katona and Amy Childs.
Tomorrow (9 September), the show will revert to its original format with ordinary housemates spending up to ten weeks in the reality house.
According to Phil Hall, head of TV at MediaCom, the show is attracting advertisers because it has taken new approaches to generating interest against strong competition like Simon Cowell’s The X Factor and Red or Black.
“What Channel 5 has particularly struggled with over the years is attracting big audiences. They had really good niche shows which people took time out to watch, but with Big Brother, this has changed. It has been sold in an innovative way, and now because of its new selling approach, Five are especially strong at developing new ways of selling and bringing ideas alive and the way it brings ideas alive. It’s not just selling spots but also having them as part of the programme as well,” he says.
“For Channel 5 to do a better share than ITV1 and Channel 4 in the Celebrity Big Brother timeslot is a fantastic performance,” adds Adrian English, the head of broadcast at media agency Carat UK.
Product placement in the celebrity show has included a themed challenge to promote movie “Friday Night” and budget supermarket Lidl being shown in a “supermarket sweep” style prize, won by Jedward. Freederm is the current sponsor of Big Brother.
Richard Oliver, managing partner of investment at UM London, says Big Brother is not yet causing advertisers to reappraise Channel 5, but is still in demand because of the voyeuristic nature of the show.
“Clients have always liked the nature of Big Brother ever since its conception and so they like to feature in the ad slots around the show, but they also recognise that its audience base is not suited to all brands. Back in the day, ads like Gorilla and Liverpool Street Dance premiered during the show. That allure is less prevalent now. The X Factor is the preferred launch vehicle, but the show still has a place for most brands,” he explains.
Oliver adds that the lack of a live feed is not a problem, because it is the primetime slots that advertisers want.
“The viewing figures for the show might not have matched Desmond’s predictions, but they are still as good a place as any to spend the money and will undoubtedly be a commercial boost for Channel 5.”
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