Olympics postponement passes the baton for networks and advertisers alike

Apr 7th, 2020

Written by Dominique Dajer

Last month the International Olympics Committee (IOC) announced the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics, with rescheduled dates of July 23rd – August 8th, 2021 

With the impending Olympic sized programming hole to fill, networks are left with opportunity for new programming; however, most production has been paused due to COVID-19. While cable providers seek to fill in the twoweek gap with new inventory originally reserved for the Olympics, advertisers can continue to build their brand’s audience base.  

Research firm Kantar, is encouraging brands to continue strategic investing in advertising, in the interest of driving a greater likelihood of long-term outcomes. Long term effects come from delivering lasting impressions that help to keep the brand salient and position it as meaningful and different for when the consumer comes back into the category.

Further, some networks are finding new ways to adjust, by moving their schedules up while audiences are now spending more time at home. ESPN for one, announced last week that the Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” will debut on April 19th, originally scheduled for early summer.”

As changes in our daily lives  continue to impact regularly scheduled programming, brands are required to similarly follow suit. By following an audience-first approach that isn’t prescriptive to age and gender, advertisers can reach audiences they may not have otherwise. For example, a typical “VH1 viewer” that falls into the W18-35 demo may be drawn to watch “The Last Dance” on ESPN, a network that is generally male-skewed. Whereas sports programming may be compromised, the desire for more entertainment-based programming has increased. 

In our last Insights post, “Consumers are tuning in: news and entertainment” we noted the significant jump in VOD viewership.  Entertainment programs specifically saw a 15-25% increase in evening viewership the week of March 23rd, according to Canoe data. Presumably this is after audiences have spent an exponential amount of time watching news networks during the daytime day part.  

While not all distributors have the foresight to pinpoint exactly which, or when, programs or schedules will change, Ampersand is closely monitoring scheduling.  

For more information on programming and inventory changes, please reach out to your Ampersand representative. Stay tuned for further updates on evolving TV viewership. 

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