In an era of on-demand consumption, many amateur soothsayers would have you believe that “live TV is dead”.

Try telling that to the millions who tune in to live televised sport every week.

Live linear still commands and audience and, so, broadcasters still think they can command advertisers.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Dan Donnelly, SVP, Ad Sales Strategy & Sports Brand Partnerships at FOX Sports, talks about what he is offering brands in the new age.

Authentic plays

“People are coming for the sports content,” Donnelly says. “Now, if you interrupt their experience with something that’s not relevant, it’s not going to resonate as well as if you bring something that is authentic and relevant.

“All of these spaces are basically areas where commercial avoidance has become that consumer behaviour.

“And so we’re doing a lot of solution providing to brands across the board.”

Driving results

Donnelly cites three examples of such campaigns:

  1. A GMC activation during NFL’s Thursday Night Football in which ex-players drive GMC vehicles around the cities in which they once played.
  2. The recent launch of the Hummer EV vehicle by an introduction from sportscaster Joe Buck during game one of the World Series.
  3. Promoting an enhancement to the viewing experience in Fox Sports’ app for a Samsung 5G campaign.

Donnelly says the Hummer campaign moved the needle. “What we saw on the Google Analytics, literally within seconds, the search term and it just went through roof,” he says.

“Some people may have been searching for more information maybe in a pre-order, which is what GMC was hoping would happen, or maybe just what was the music in that, who was the opening narrative, the voiceover in that spot and that again is the great opportunity with linear television.”

Fourth-quarter fightback

The COVID-19 pandemic starved viewers of live TV sports, but their return heralds a re-evaluation of their value to brands and viewers alike.

That’s not a forgone conclusion, of course. Before the pandemic, some sports were seeing ratings decline, in what is a content-abundant consumer environment.

Donnelly is aware of a balancing act. ‘Now the challenge is, ‘How do you put your messaging within those spaces that are not commercial avoidance opportunities?’,” he says.

“Within sports right now is your brand needs to be authentic and relevant within that space.”

Still got it

Ultimately, he believes TV still has what it takes.

“There’s still such a huge opportunity within the linear television space and networks, the sight, sound and motion that connectivity that people have with that best screen that’s in the room,” Donnelly adds.

There are also multi devices and you can have multi-screen or multi task at the same time. But, when you’re providing that content on that big screen and really generating the emotional connection, that is something that is driving the research and the results continue to show that it’s working.

“When television is turned on, as well as even the digital extensions, when it’s turned on, you can see immediate transactions. It is, in fact, working.”

You are watching “Targeted Strategies, Big Impact: TV Powered by Data, Addressability and Consumer Choice,” a leadership video series from Beet.TV and VAB presented by New York Interconnect. For more videos, please visit this page