If you take out the “location theme” from Bravo’s “Top Chef”, and spice it up with an occasional bleeping out of unguarded, salty language, you have the recipe for Food Network’s reality-based cooking show, “Chopped”.
Actually, there are a few more ingredients.
Like “Top Chef”, “Chopped” brings us “chefs as contestants” as a quartet of time-pressured culinarians whip up unique dishes based upon a basket of mystery ingredients. Ultimately, they must create three courses – an appetizer, entrée and dessert – and are judged upon their creative use of the ingredients; their overall presentation; and in the end how their creations actually taste!
Now in its seventh year, I think the creators of “Chopped” would be the first to admit that their show is a little more formulaic than “Top Chef”… but why should they care? They’ve created a juggernaut for Food Network, airing well over fifty new episodes in a calendar year! And, amazingly, there seems to be no viewer fatigue as this show just keep choppin’ along week after week, steady as she goes:
Source: Viamedia analysis of Rentrak TV Essentials Data (Telecast Summary Report) for Food Network’s “Chopped” across 53 episodes that aired from January 5 – December 16, 2014. (Excludes 2 episodes that aired at 11pm.) Average U.S. HH rating across all 53 episodes = .83 (1.12 share) based on Viamedia’s time-duration weighted estimate. Ratings are for new “Chopped” episodes only (no repeats). Ratings are Live-only.
Another sure sign of ratings strength for the primetime reality cook-off show – “Chopped” delivers 20%+ higher ratings than its daypart:
Source: Viamedia analysis of Rentrak TV Essentials Data (Telecast Summary Report) for Food Network’s “Chopped” across 59 episodes that aired in Calendar Year 2013 (January 1 – December 17) and 53 episodes that aired in Calendar Year 2014 (January 5 – December 16). Note: 2014 excludes 2 episodes that aired at 11pm. Ratings for “Chopped” are Viamedia time-duration weighted estimates for new “Chopped” airings only (no repeats). Ratings & Shares are Live-only. Primetime Daypart ratings are Viamedia estimates based upon a straight-line average of quarterly Rentrak ratings from the Network Summary Report for first – fourth quarters 2013 & 2014.
Local Advertiser Demand
Whatever “Chopped” is serving, local cable advertisers are eating. Practically all of the standard metrics we look at are up – way up! Despite more original episodes in Calendar Year 2013, Viamedia clients invested 40% more ad dollars in the show in 2014. “Chopped” also attracted a great number of advertisers (+13%), who on average purchased 33% more 30-second units:
Source: Viamedia internal analysis of High Profile Tracker data for Food Network’s “Chopped” for the Calendar Years 2014 vs 2013 across the 35 markets that had “Chopped” ad revenues for both years.
Perhaps more impressive: Nearly 40% of 2013 Viamedia clients returned to the show in 2014 collectively upping their advertising 55% — a sure sign that many of them were pleased with their prior year investment:
Source: Viamedia internal analysis of High Profile Tracker data for Food Network’s “Chopped” for the Calendar Years 2014 (192 local cable advertisers) vs 2013 (170 local cable advertisers). 39% of 2013 advertisers returned in 2014 (66 out of 170) collectively raising their ad investment in “Chopped” by 55%.
“Chopped” attracts a broad array of local cable advertisers, with no single category representing more than one-third of all advertising. Of note is that one-fifth of all ad revenues accrue to the Travel & Entertainment (13%) and Food/Grocery (7%) categories – a much higher level than we typically see for high profile cable programming:
Source: Viamedia analysis of B.I.G. internal database (“Sports & High Profile Tracker”) for any and all local cable advertisers who invested in Food Network’s “Chopped” for the past 2 ½ Calendar years — excluding December — (June 2012 – November 2014) across any and all markets.
A Multitude of Seasons
Although “Chopped’ is now entering its seventh year on television, there have been something like 23 or 24 “Seasons”, several of which merge together in any given calendar year as the show adheres to a 3-course elimination round, resulting in one chef (out of four) coming away with a $10,000 prize. The format is predictable, but the dishes certainly are not as the contestants are put under tremendous time pressure to create something that will pass muster with some very opinionated judges. It all makes for delicious entertainment that has kept viewers and local cable advertisers coming back for more.
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– Written by Jonathan Sims, VP Media Research, Viamedia