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Brief Published: 11 Aug 2016

Advertising to Time-Shifting Audiences

NBC sitcom Superstore wins with time-shifting audiences

US broadcaster NBC's coverage of the 2016 Olympics opening ceremony was met with social media exasperation over frequent ad breaks, despite the fact there was actually a 19% drop in ad time compared to the London 2012 broadcast (Kantaar Media, 2016). This indicates that as viewers increase control of their TV schedule through on-demand services, attitudes towards interruptive advertising are growing ever more sour.

Adweek reports that a study on time-shifted viewing by NBC in July 2016 found that 67% of respondents no longer feel they have to watch new programmes when they first air. Moreover, 42% prefer to time-shift even if they can watch live. As a result, the company says its content is now seeing months of sustained audience growth through on-demand options. This lets newcomers like sitcom Superstore amass audience numbers that compare to tent pole show The Voice. As delayed viewing has become the new normal, broadcasters must find ways to monetise this long tail, without disrupting binge-watchers 'in the zone'.

US broadcaster Fox is tackling this challenge by expanding its brand partnership programme. Following last year's deal with Pepsi, which awarded the beverage giant a multi-episode story arc in the drama Empire, the broadcaster is now working with Samsung Gear VR to create an experience that will kick-off its new series 24: Legacy. Fox is also creating a new gameshow based on music app Shazam.

For more on the impact of on-demand services and time-shifting habits, see our Pop Culture Round-Up: May 2016 and our coverage from Ad Age Digital Conference 2016. For more on how to engage around real-time events, see New Strategies in Sports Marketing.