The bone-chilling month of February blows into many towns across the nation with two of the hottest TV award ceremonies of the year: the 58th Grammy Awards on the 15th, and the granddaddy of ‘em all, the 88th Academy Awards, better known as “The Oscars”, on the 28th. And all of the glitz and all of the glamour (and maybe a little gossip, too) will be seen up close and personal on E!’s long-running “Live from the Red Carpet” show that is celebrating its 20th anniversary with hosts Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic.
E!’s “Red Carpet” franchise extends to several award shows (including the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards) and represents the sort of opportunistic programming niche that cable has carved out in light of (long-held) exclusive broadcast rights to certain high profile TV events. (Animal Planet’s canine tie-in to the NFL Super Bowl – “The Puppy Bowl” -- is a classic example.) With E!’s “Red Carpet” events, there’s no need to fly out to L.A. to catch all the glam as top-shelf Hollywood talent strolls down the red carpet in all their sartorial splendor. Just grab a front row seat in the quiet and comfort of your own home… something millions of viewers have been doing for years:
To put E!’s robust ratings and shares in some context, the 2015 Grammy & Oscar events were nearly five times the average delivery that E! achieved in the “Red Carpet” time slot for the month of February! Another context to consider: E!’s ratings go straight up as household income rises. At one end of the income spectrum, the Grammies and Oscars combined averaged a 1.1 household rating for homes with income less than $30,000 a year. And for homes that accrue over a quarter of a million dollars a year -- 2.7 average household rating:
Local Cable Advertising Demand
Over the past two years, well over 100 Viamedia cable clients ordered over 650 30-second spots in E!’s Grammy and Oscar Award shows. On average, that comes to about three commercials per client (per year) across 36 markets (one-half of Viamedia’s national footprint.)
(Source: B.I.G.SM database -- Copyright © 2016 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
But perhaps the more relevant geographic metric is the fact that four of Viamedia’s largest markets (i.e., Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and New York) comprised over 80% of all investments. (To put that figure in context, these four markets in February represented less than 40% of all Viamedia revenues.) What in essence, then, is driving the big-market skew for E!’s “Red Carpet” events?
A large part of the answer has to do with tune-in advertising which represents the #1 advertising category for E!’s “Red Carpet” events at 30%. That’s an unusually high percentage, especially when you consider that (company-wide) the tune-in category represents only 3 – 4% of total Viamedia advertising revenues . The point to be made is that tune-in advertising is typically concentrated in the very largest Viamedia markets. (In 2014, for example, five Viamedia markets captured over 80% of all tune-in dollars.) So, in essence, the large tune-in advertising share undoubtedly skewed the overall investment to the largest Viamedia markets:
An Infotainment Franchise
You’ve got to hand it to the creatives over at E!. They not only turned several major award ceremonies into their own branded “Red Carpet” event, they even created programming content around that event with programs such as, “Countdown to the Red Carpet”, “Fashion Police” and the “Live Post Show – E! After Party.” In essence, then, E! has built an entire infotainment franchise around stars just strolling down a red-colored carpet dressed to the nines with their significant other! It’s just the sort of sunny, warm L.A. kind of fun the rest of the nation loves watching as it trudges through the cold dark days of February.