Big Brother & the Art of Advertising-Funded Content

The BBC (no advertising), ironically, published an article recently about the advertising success of Big Brother for Channel 4.

It seems that Channel 4 have been extremely successful in generating big revenues in 3 areas:

  • Broadcast Advertising & Sponsorship
    Bog-standard advertising revenues from the TV broadcasts are higher than for most programmes not just because of the high viewing figures that Big Brother generates, but because the programme brings in the 16-34 year old age group that watches less TV than other segments. The programme sponsorship alone is reckoned to be worth £4.5m.
  • Text Voting
    Viewers are encouraged to participate and interact with Big Brother by voting on who they think should stay in the house or be unceremoniously thrown out (a real blessing if you ask me, it must be sooo boring). In 2005, the final night generated 6.4 million texts. At around 50p per text, this single night generated £6.4m in revenues (to be shared between Channel 4, the production company and the network operators).
  • On-Line Advertising
    This is perhaps the most interesting area for Telco's. No revenue figures are revealed, but Channel 4 makes money by showing 12 free clips a day of what is going on in the Big Brother house with each clip preceded by a 30 second advertisement. The Big Brother website has generated more than 100 million hits (presumably from those elusive 16-34 year olds), so the advertising revenue is likely to be significant.

Seems like there is money in content after all.