Channel 10’s summer of entertainment proved that networks don’t need sports programming to flourish.
With a total series audience of 851, 000 and having now achieved its biggest live stream audience ever I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! is one of the summer’s success stories, despite having to change location from South Africa to northern NSW due to the pandemic.
With sponsors including BCF, McDonald’s, Plush, Oz Lotto, Mitsubishi, Carnival, Bedshed, Origin, Youfoodz and Youi, the network’s decision to start programming out of ratings season saw significant rewards.
B&T caught up with Lisa Squillace (main photo), Network 10’s national sales director, who believed that “the landscape of summer has changed forever”.
Squillace said the risky move to prioritise summer entertainment over sport has paid off: “We really backed ourselves in that audiences are looking for something else – something different – and it’s been proven.”
It’s not just audiences looking for something different; it’s clients too.
This is the second year 10 have started its programming early in January, a choice which gives advertisers the opportunity “to own summer”. Squillace said that sponsors had “been able to reach larger audiences by being with us on I’m A Celebrity than they could have ever reached if they’d been on a sport”.
Sponsors are looking for a range of elements in their partnership with I’m A Celebrity. According to Squillace, what they get is “relevance, in-show integration with the use of their products, use of their themes [and] alignments of their themes with the show”.
Part of the advantage of the show is that brands are “looking for their products [to be] used authentically by celebrities”. Because “brands are really deeply aligned with content in a relevant way, they then receive that halo effect…our audiences and fans take action and connect with those brands, which is why we’ve got clients coming back year after year”.
McDonald’s, Origin, Bedshed and Carnival are all returning sponsors for 2021.
Squillace thinks that sponsors are encouraged to return by multiple factors: “They’ve either seen increases in sales, increases in brand awareness and they’ve had a fantastic experience throughout the process.”
This is down to 10’s Effect team, its commercial partnership division. It is “a sum of all parts – audiences have succeeded, their sales have succeeded and they’ve had a really nice experience with the network throughout the process,” Squillace said.
Even the ongoing pandemic hasn’t slowed 10 down.
“We were actually growing our audiences before COVID. We were the only network to continue to grow our audiences through it and after it”.
One of the effects of the pandemic was a return to TV, from both the audiences and the market, which Squillace described as “fantastic”.
Looking to the future, 10 feels confident that they can maintain its current strength from both a revenue and an audience perspective.
Squillace concluded: “We have the momentum. I’m A Celebrity has been essential to this, it does put us in a really prime position to continue the momentum in 2021, and we can’t wait for it!”
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