Jan 31, 2016

Puppy Bowl Boosts Animal Planet to #1 Cable Network During Time Slot

Animal Planet puppy bowl

Football at times seem like a dog-eat-dog world, but what happens when you pit actual dogs against one another in a game of football?

Yep… it’s that time again when small dogs reign supreme on the gridiron as Animal Planet televises its twelfth rendition of the “Puppy Bowl” – one of the cleverest (and certainly the cutest) counter-programming strategies in the entire history of television.

You’d be amazed at the lengths Animal Planet will go to ensure these puppies don’t go barking up the wrong tree on Super Bowl Sunday! The entire game is played inside a miniature football stadium where these little doggies are enticed by all sorts of stuffed animals, spongy footballs and several “whatchamacallits” that they can really sink their teeth into.

But the production value doesn’t stop there… oh, no. Animal Planet films the entire event over several days, with “announcers”, “referees”, half-time animal entertainment, stadium signage and piped-in fan noise, not to mention the on-site vets and Humane Society to ensure the directors at Animal Planet haven’t whipped their “players” into a frenzy. Then there are the unusual camera angles, including one dog-cam embedded underneath the stadium turf and positioned underneath a see-through puppy bowl so that we get to see our tired warriors taking a much-needed water break.

The viewers are certainly lapping it all up as last year’s Puppy Bowl XI delivered a 1.2 U.S. household rating and a 2.3 share (nearly three-times the share level of just four years ago):

 

 

Practically everyone knows about the dramatic ratings pulled down by the NFL Super Bowl Game, but you’d be amazed at the “Power of the Puppy” in the context of its own 3:00 – 5:00pm Super Bowl Sunday time slot. On the Sunday before the Super Bowl (January 25th), Animal Planet was the 32nd ranked network from 3:00pm - 5:00pm, delivering a .44 U.S. household rating. And on the Sunday after the Super Bowl (February 8th) – not that much difference (37th ranked network with a .40 rating.) But on the Sunday of the Super Bowl, Animal Planet was the 3rd ranked network overall and the #1 cable network when the Puppy Bowl aired:

 

 

Dramatic Impact on Animal Planet’s Local Cable Advertising

The “Puppy Bowl” has a significant impact on local cable advertising for Animal Planet. Two years ago (“Puppy Bowl X”), the network accrued one-half of one percent of total Viamedia revenues on the Sunday before and after the “Puppy Bowl.” But on the Sunday of the “Puppy Bowl”, the network’s share of revenues was three-times that amount. The same general pattern can be seen for last year’s “Puppy Bowl XI” as well:


 

Over the past two Puppy Bowls, over forty advertisers across 25 Viamedia markets have ordered 160+  :30-second spots. That comes to an average of 3.7 spots per advertiser. (Source: B.I.G.SM   database -- Copyright © 2016 by Viamedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

In terms of the most popular product categories for the “Puppy Bowl”, Entertainment & Travel takes home the lion’s share at 53% -- that’s more than 7-times the amount this category typically pulls down company-wide. A quick perusal of local advertisers that fall within this category turned up a significant investment by a Chicago-based aquarium looking to attract the animal lovers who tune into the “Puppy Bowl”:

 

The 50th anniversary game of the very first NFL Super Bowl is set to air on February 7th, 2016 in Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, California), but will either team really claw its way to victory? Probably not like the participants of the twelfth Puppy Bowl where the cutest dogs on this planet will battle it out in a miniature football stadium for one purpose and one purpose only: to see how many heart-felt “awws” can be elicited from the audience. Indeed, Animal Planet’s decision to mix puppies with football on Super Bowl Sunday has created quite a dilemma for the average fan: which adorable “underdog” do we root for?

Topics: Animal Planet, Pets

Jonathan Sims

Written by Jonathan Sims

A media & marketing research executive in the forefront of cutting edge ROI measurement and multi-platform engagement. Before joining Viamedia as Vice President, Research, Sims held the position of V.P., Product Management at TRA, Inc. Prior to TRA, Inc., Sims was the Head of Corporate Research at Comcast Spotlight. Originally from New Rochelle, New York, Sims resides in the nearby town of Rye Brook where he and his wife raised their daughter. In his spare time, Sims enjoys reading history, rooting for the New York Giants and rollerblading, especially when the weather is warm and the roads are smooth.

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