Guilherme Ravache – Influencers help Globo make money like never before with the BBB

Anyone who sees the BBB break a new revenue record, with over R$ 1 billion in advertising alone, can hardly imagine that the program has been losing steam for some years, especially among advertisers. In 2020, to turn the situation around, Globo made a courageous bet: it brought major digital influencers into competition.

Whoever won that edition was a Pipoca, Telminha, but Rafa Kalimann, Manu Gavassi and Bianca Andrade (Boca Rosa), changed the course of reality, especially in the digital world.

Since that edition, the Globo reality show has become much more than a television show, it is a cultural and social phenomenon. More than 153 million people have viewed content from the latest edition of the BBB on Globo’s platforms, up 13% from its predecessor, the BBB21. And revenues keep growing, there’s a queue of advertisers. More than 30 companies are expected to be in this edition which starts on Monday. Globo does not confirm the amount reached with the transfer of sponsorship shares.

It’s not the BBB for celebrities, it’s the BBB for influencers

It’s the conversation about the show, especially on social media, that makes the BBB so appealing to advertisers. The queue of brands wanting to join is long. Following the BRL 20 billion loss of Americanas and the BBB dropping a major stake, Mercado Livre replaced the competitor the same day, and there was a queue of applicants for the new major advertiser’s vacancy.

The criticism of the “declining” relevance of the participants in this edition is also wrong when evaluated from the point of view of digital influence. Fred do Desimpedidos, Key Alves and Bruna Griphao are far from unknown on social networks. Gabriel Santana, who starred in the children’s soap opera Chiquititas and Pantanal, has more than 2.3 million Instagram followers and a huge appeal among younger audiences. Another example is MC Guime, with 8.3 million followers on Instagram.

In Pipoca, makeup artist Marília has more than 2 million followers and is also followed by former BBB Juliette, who became a successful digital influencer after winning the program in 2021. Marília is also friends with Bruna Gomes (former girlfriend by Felipe Netto ), champion of the Big Brother Desafio Final, Portuguese version of the reality show. Fred Nicário, another Pipoca, has already gone viral on the Internet in a video and has more than 400,000 followers on Instagram.

BBB supply and demand

One explanation for the growing commercial success of the BBB is the control of supply and demand. With the entry of influencers in 2020, the demand has increased a lot. Brands actually saw the possibility of running campaigns on TV, but strongly connected to digital media, as a priority for large advertisers.

On the other hand, the BBB has gotten more expensive because content stocks (test sponsorship, with ostentatious branding) have finite inventory, as it’s impractical to run thousands of tests. With skyrocketing demand and limited content space, Globo was able to significantly increase BBB values.

The success of the BBB on digital platforms reinforces this point. Last year, while it was on air, there were more than 132 million tweets on social networks, 5,408 terms in trending topics in Brazil, more than 2.7 billion interactions on the program on networks, with more than 3.2 billions of video plays on official profiles, according to Globo data.

A survey conducted by Globo with 35,000 people during BBB22 indicated over 95% favor (brand interest in stocks), over 81% intent to buy, and over 80% intent to recommend. Why advertisers want to get in isn’t hard to explain, it’s a cannon shot for brand recognition. Last year, Globo also gave influencers and journalists more flexibility to use BBB images and videos on social media. The measure broadened the scope of the attraction.

Has BBB become a business desk?

For some, there is a risk that the BBB will become a large corporate desk, placing advertising as a priority at the expense of entertainment, as summarized by columnist Gabriel Vaquer, of Notícias da TV. The risk exists, but Globo knows it and doesn’t want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Based on this scarcity management logic, Globo’s effort should go in the opposite direction: to have less commercial space in order to be able to charge advertisers even more. Scarcity generates value and is a differentiator for Rio de Janeiro station. In the digital world, where Globo’s real competitors are found, such as Google and Facebook, abundance is the rule.

YouTube and social media have practically infinite inventories. But if the inventory is infinite, the price tends to drop to zero. This is one of the reasons why ad prices on digital networks are plummeting and why Google and Facebook are in a crisis, having to cut costs and staff.

Little commented, but fundamental, aspect is Boninho’s closeness to the advertising market. Globo has resisted allowing its administrators to have contact with clients and agencies. Boninho was one of the first on the artistic side of the station to have this freedom. Also, early in his career he spent more than three years writing merchandise for soap operas, which he says was key to understanding marketing.

Even controversy helps brands

The BBB is such a special case that even controversy can be good for brands, as discussions ensure a lot of visibility and engagement on social networks. Marketers only complain to Globo when they think their brands have little impact, and that never happens when there’s any controversy surrounding a race that has a brand sponsoring it.

People understand that the controversy is about the race and the program, not the brand that merely sponsors it. In the opinion of two advertising executives I’ve heard of, the risk is that the whole program becomes a hipster. Even so, not everyone would complain if it has a lot of repercussions.

In the latest edition of A Fazenda, da Record, which for many has become a limitless minimum, in the evaluation of an advertiser of the attraction, the rural reality has met with great success. Several conversion records have been broken by his brand due to the attraction of Record. The controversy, from his point of view, has also helped.

BBB is Globoplay’s resource

Another reason Globo hasn’t turned the BBB into a simple slot machine is its growing relevance to Globoplay, a big bet from Globo. Every year, Globoplay virtually doubles the number of hours watched by the BBB on the platform. Reality is primarily responsible for attracting and retaining subscribers on Globo’s streaming service. And this in the three months of attraction on the air. In the long run, this is worth far more than the BRL billion in advertising that Globo receives in one issue.

In this edition, Globoplay will have “a new experience with 11 live cameras and a mosaic with simultaneous signals to follow the routine of all participants”, informs Globo in its material to publicize the platform.

The BBB is very efficient in building a bridge between TV and the digital world. It has repercussions on social media, with Globoplay broadcasting the program 24/7. But it also has the moments that generate focused attention. The formation of the wall, the elimination, the most important tests. These moments are scarce and perfect for boosting real-time conversation over networks.

Like major sports competitions, reality shows are live and generate FOMO syndrome (fear of missing out), the “fear of being left out” of a conversation. It’s that constant need to know what other people are talking about at that moment.

So there is no crisis on TV?

This year, non-subscribers will be able to follow the program in its entirety and see the editions of Click BBB, which summarize the house’s events. There will also be a BBB chat after eliminations on Tuesdays on gshow and Globoplay. The increase in content offerings for non-Globoplay subscribers indicates the growth of streaming advertising.

At the end of last year, Netflix began offering advertising on its platform in 12 countries, including Brazil. Disney+ and other major streaming players already offer advertising in countries like the US and have also brought TV shows to stream. In 2022 the traditional Dancing with the Stars, after 30 editions on the American television network ABC, began to be broadcast exclusively on Disney +.

The rise of streaming advertising is a response to slow subscriber growth across all platforms and skyrocketing costs, which have led the industry to report disappointing results. And in cases like Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, growing losses on its streaming platforms. But increased competition has caused audiences and engagement to plummet for anything that doesn’t have the relevance of the BBB. And producing relevant content has become much more difficult and expensive. That is, the crisis in the television and media market is quite real.

format limits

The results of reality shows are spectacular, but at the same time they show the growing reliance of media groups on the format. In addition to attracting an audience, reality shows are cheap to produce compared to drama. However, there are more and more realities everywhere, from TVs to streaming.

This means that the media business, and even Globo, is not in a comfortable position. In digital, the audience is increasingly fragmented and the number of platforms continues to grow. From streaming to social networks, dozens of players appear every year.

BBB Brasil brings billions to Globo and is one of the biggest cultural phenomena in the world. But it’s a rare unicorn. It is virtually impossible to replicate and also wears out over time. Globo has managed to revitalize the attraction with influencers in 2020. If it continues to hit the formula, as it has for more than two decades, it will go far beyond most of its competitors. This applies to TV, but especially to digital.

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