For events that are broadcast on television—or are available for streaming on the Web—the sponsorship value for brands has more to do with the viewers seated in front of their screens than it does with the spectators sitting at the venue.
So how is the value of brand exposure in a broadcast measured? While this type of evaluation has been around for years, it is plagued by a number of myths and preconceptions. But developments in broadcasting and broadcast technologies are changing the way it is done. Let’s take a closer look.
What’s the purpose?
Evaluating a broadcast sponsorship helps determine the monetary value of the overall visibility generated for the brand during a televised broadcast or rebroadcast.
This analysis, which used to be relatively straightforward, now requires the factoring in of an array of new media, like webcasting and social networks, and of the wider range of ways to integrate a brand into a broadcast resulting from the extensive media creativity now available to advertisers.
Is evaluation really necessary?
Both the promoter and the sponsor have everything to gain from knowing the number of TV impressions generated for a brand, as it is an important determinant of value. In-person attendance obviously offers a far more limited potential for exposure than does the extensive coverage of a broadcast. Detailed impressions by market can also be used to see if the investment is suitable for reaching the brand’s target markets and to provide a basis for comparison with the benefits of more conventional forms of advertising.
How does it work?
At one time done manually, the evaluation process has now been automated thanks to a new generation of highly-accurate analytical tools. These rely on sophisticated algorithms that use the power of artificial intelligence to enable brand recognition in various contexts, including in the determination of media impressions during a broadcast.
Local versus international value
Visibility in a global broadcast, as in the case of Formula 1 racing, for example, is calculated by the major media groups, who content themselves with making a rather rough estimate based on the average value recorded in each of the markets.
Many other large-scale events also broadcast over the Web, however, use much more precise means for measuring the size and geographic location of their audience.
Is all visibility created equal?
The value of brand exposure varies significantly according to the quality of visibility, notably in terms of its prominence, clarity, synergy and type.
In other words, a brand will benefit from greater value if its logo is placed in the heat of the action, as in on the players’ jerseys, for example, and if that presence is reinforced by other elements of visibility, such as on the home screens or in other placements during the broadcast.
But value cannot be measured through mere media exposure alone; expertise in sponsorship is also needed to fully understand the factors that can influence that value. Qualitative or so-called intangible elements come into play, on top of the media equivalencies, to affect the value for the brand. A straight evaluation of media value can therefore only tell one part of the story.
What will likely be the future trends in broadcast analysis?
There is a growing trend among consumers worldwide to pull the plug on cable or even toss out their television altogether. This is going to have a direct impact on the old model whereby promoters negotiate lucrative exclusive broadcast deals for which broadcasters then have to sell ad space to secure a return on their investment.
Although still marginal in some spheres, online listening makes it possible to pay only for the desired content by cutting out the middleman, i.e. the broadcaster. Online listening means the ability to instantly determine the location, time and number of plays, which will greatly facilitate the painstaking job of measuring the broadcast value.
Does an evaluation have to be done every year?
While this exercise is essential, it doesn’t have to be repeated unless major changes have been made to the broadcast environment. In fact, a certain “routine” tends to settle in that keeps the value of a broadcast relatively stable from one year to the next. For example, the Mercedes logo that used to be beside the net in the Rogers Cup generally produced the same level of visibility during the games because the brand was seen by the camera angles and the same audience.
However, any significant development like a modification of the visibility area, a change in broadcaster or a difference in the site or positioning of the logo would necessitate a new evaluation.
How much time and money is required?
Evaluation is still a relatively lengthy process. As a general rule, about 3 hours of analysis are required for every hour of broadcast time. The cost will vary according to both the length and complexity of the sequence to be analyzed: the number of markets being evaluated, the nature of the visibility, which may be of different types and formats, the use of media creativity, webcasting and social media, and so on.
Knowing the value generated by television or Web exposure remains an important piece of the puzzle in determining how much a sponsorship is worth.