BBB 22: Inside Globo’s Money-Making Machine

Reality show’s advertising revenues are at least 690 million reais ($124M) per series

Presenter Tadeu Schmidt, who switched from Globo's Sports channel to BBB: Millionaire Edition.
January 18, 2022 | 01:58 PM
Reading time: 5 min.

Bloomberg Linea — In recent weeks, the 22nd series of Big Brother Brasil (BBB 22), which launched on Jan. 17, has been an omnipresent theme on social media, and since last Friday the TV program or terms associated with it have been trending topics on Twitter, topping Google searches and the subject of publications that cover TV in the country.

So much buzz helps explain why this edition of the reality show is the most profitable in history.

Although the TV network does not provide detailed figures, Globo has earned at least 690 million reais ($124.3 million) in advertising revenues for the 95 days that BBB 22 will be on air. Except for the billion-real soccer business, BBB individually outperforms any other entertainment product of the network in terms of sales.

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Within the network’s finances, BBB is considered a product as commercially successful as the prestigious Jornal Nacional news program which has the most expensive per-minute Brazilian TV advertising. The 20 seconds between the moment in which news anchors William Bonner and Renata Vasconcellos read the day’s headlines and the beginning of the bulletin cost 1.3 million reais ($233,450).

In the show’s other commercial breaks, advertisers pay up to 850,000 reais ($152,563) for a 30-second advertisement, according to Globo’s most recent advertising cost schedules.

To place ads on BBB 22 there are three price bands - 91.9 million, 69 million and 11.8 million reais, Meio&Mensagem, a publication specialized in the advertising industry, revealed late last year. In the top-price category are retail giants such as Americanas (AMER3), Avon (NTCO3) and fintech PicPay. In addition to the quotas, the network also sells occasional participation in other features linked to the program.

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As a comparison, there were six sponsorship slots at 42 million reais each in 2020, the year of the outbreak of the pandemic, and after which the program underwent a transformation, with a shift in focus toward synergies with the internet and to capture the ‘second screen trend’, in which the viewer watches the program on one screen and writes about it on social networks on another. In the 2021 edition of Big Brother Brasil, considered a successful one in terms of audience and revenues, Globo started recruiting ‘influencers’ as participants.

“The point is that BBB has become the latest bonfire that everyone sits around to talk about. Soap operas don’t do this anymore, Jornal Nacional doesn’t do this anymore, nothing else on TV does this,” according to Chico Barney, a TV columnist for Uol, referring to the engagement of the program’s audience with the internet and social networks.

One example of this phenomenon is that, after the announcement on Jan. 14 of one of the participants in this year’s edition, former Miss Pernambuco Eslovênia Marques, 25, searches for ‘Slovenia’ skyrocketed in Brazil, according to Google Trends.

And while, on the one hand, BBB makes a lot of money, on the other hand it spends little: a program whose attraction is people confined in a house does not have production expenses like those of a soap opera, with external image capturing, team trips, battalions of costume designers and actors’ fees. It is estimated that the production involves 200 people, which is lean compared to a soap opera. And, apart from the 1.5 million reais prize money for the winner, Globo does not pay a fee to any of the participants.

This helps explain why BBB’s director Boninho, whose real name is José Bonifácio Brasil de Oliveira, has become one of the most influential people in Globo. With a budget smaller than that of a soap opera, he delivers a program capable of earning the equivalent of 70% of the entire group’s annual payroll expenses, taking into account the 2020 advertising revenues and personnel expenses (the 2021 balance sheet will be released in March).

Globo Forecast to See Record Revenues in 2022, Fitch Says

In a new rating report published Jan. 11, Fitch says Globo has one of the strongest financial structures compared to its peers across Latin America, with 12.1 billion reais ($2.17 billion) in cash and financial investments against a debt of only 5.7 billion reais ($1.02 billion) maturing in the next few years.

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Of the debt, more than 95% refers to three debt issues in dollars, maturing in 2025, 2027 and 2030, with rates ranging from 4.8% to 5.1%. The rest of the debt is composed of bank debt in reais and liabilities maturing until 2024.

This month, the company raised $400 million in a new debt issue maturing in 2032. The funds will be used to repurchase debt maturing between 2025 and 2027. With this, says Fitch, the Globo group protects, through hedging, its operational and financial exposure to foreign currency, considering a term of 24 months ahead.

With Globo’s 2021 balance sheet to be published in March, Fitch considers a base scenario with net revenue of 14.1 billion reais ($2.52 billion) and EBITDA of 122 million reais ($21.8 million) last year (to September, revenues had reached 10.1 billion reais, or $1.81 billion). In 2020, the group reported revenues of 12.5 billion reais ($2.24 billion).

For 2022, according to Fitch, net revenue should grow 11% to 15.7 billion reais ($2.81 billion), while EBITDA will be around 891 million reais ($159.7 million).

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“Globo’s strong business position, as leader in the Brazilian media industry, is an important pillar of the ratings. The company accounted for 34% of the television audience in the first months of the year, reaching 39% in prime time. Globo also has important distribution channels for its content. Globoplay is expanding its subscriber base through package offers and partnerships, which should continue to play an important strategic role,” Fitch says.

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“Globo’s strategy to address market changes amid the decline of its traditional TV broadcast business included the launch of Globoplay, whose subscriber numbers increased rapidly, by 27% in the 12-month period ended September 2021. The content/programming share of revenues is expected to reach 40% in 2022, up from 36% in 2019″, Fitch adds.

In 2022, Globo is also expected to have non-recurring revenues of at least 1.9 billion reais ($340.4 million), of which 1.4 billion reais will be from the sale of Som Livre, a deal that should be concluded this year, and the sale of the network’s headquarters in São Paulo for 522 million reais, a deal announced in December.

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In Fitch’s evaluation, Globo’s AAA rating is in the comparative metric with Brazilian companies. In the global rating, however, its position is BB with a negative outlook, taking into account the influence of the depreciation of the real against international currencies.

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