Next Year Will Bring Plenty Of Programming Gifts For Broadcasters

Award shows, major sporting events and the Summer Olympics are among a rich slate of programming broadcasters can look forward to, offering a 2024 boost.

Alaina Donnellon

’Tis the season for holiday parties, celebrating with friends and family, and, of course, gift exchanges. It can be tricky to find that perfect gift for the loved ones on your list and most of us have found ourselves in the store (or our online shopping carts) at the last minute at least a time or two. But sometimes the perfect gift pops up when you least expect it. And for brands, their perfect gift is coming in the form of great linear TV programming set to hit screens right after we ring in the new year.

Marketers have plenty to look forward to in 2024 with much of it airing in the first quarter, including a full slate of awards shows, big sporting events, and the Summer Olympics. While some programs will be simulcast on streaming platforms, these high-profile events will be anchored on linear TV. In today’s fragmented environment, broadcast offers more valuable gifts for advertisers looking to fuel their marketing funnels with broad-reaching winners.

Reward Season

For the first time since 1956, the Emmy Awards will air in first quarter. The Emmys and Golden Globes will kick off the season in January with the Grammys following in February and the Academy Awards — with a one-hour earlier timeslot — airing in March. Viewership for awards shows tends to vary with typical reach anywhere from two to four times that of an average primetime program, as reported by MRI-Simmons.

According to Nielsen, we have seen a steady increase in Oscar’s viewership among adults 25-54 the last couple of years, and last year’s Grammy Awards viewership had a double-digit increase over the year prior. While the Golden Globes and Grammys will air on CBS and simulcast on Paramount+, broadcast TV will be the only place to catch the Emmys on Fox and the Oscars on ABC. Marketers taking home the trophy will be those capitalizing on the cultural significance of awards shows as well as their reach.


The Big(gest) Game

Professional and college sports will continue to dominate in the first quarter with bowl games, with the NFL playoffs, March Madness and, of course, the Super Bowl, which reaches about a third of the U.S. population. The big game will again be played the weekend before Valentine’s Day, but the shift from early to mid-February timing we’ve seen the last few years has not hampered viewership. Last year’s Super Bowl was the most watched of all time, according to MRI-Simmons.

Whether it’s the halftime show, the commercials or the game itself that’s attracting viewers, the upcoming event is expected to draw a huge crowd.  And if Taylor Swift’s boyfriend is playing again, that would “Usher” in an entirely new audience. Maybe in our Wildest Dreams.

Striking Gold

While first quarter is arguably the most action-packed of the year, the third quarter will also see a once-every-four-years lift with the Summer Olympics from Paris airing July 26-Aug. 11.

Coincidentally, the summer games take place every year there is a presidential election. However, they air before the general election window, giving viewers a welcome reprieve from the political grind. This year, NBCU will continue broadcasting the games across its various properties including Peacock, the NBC Sports app, any of its many cable networks and, of course, good old NBC. And while some categories are precluded from advertising during national Olympic programming due to sponsorships, we’ve seen innovative opportunities on a local or regional level and in counterprogramming.

If you’re a brand with accessible, diverse audiences on your holiday wish list, you can expect high-profile linear TV sports and entertainment to deliver the broad reach you’re looking for in 2024.

Alaina Donnellon is SVP, local media, at Active International.

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