Were you surprised when Endemol’s THE BANK JOB was recommissioned by Channel 4 so quickly?
In case you missed it earlier this month, THE BANK JOB is a live game show in which four contestants compete inside a bank vault to win a case of money. They must correctly answer questions and judge when to leave the vault or risk being eliminated from the game.
The game aired as a week-long event in early January and although the overnight ratings were fine, it was not exactly a smash hit in the conventional sense. So why is Channel 4 rushing it back on screen in February?
Quite simply, in the world of convergent formats, it is no longer possible for overnight TV ratings to tell the full story (and BARB needs to hurry up with delivering its new multi-platform measurement data). Everyone agrees THE BANK JOB was a multi-platform hit.
In advance of the game show airing on Channel 4, the broadcaster launched a companion web game, developed by Glasgow-based Chunk Games which was a massive success with the online game community and casual players alike. In the first week, over half a million head-to-head tournament games were played at www.thebankjob.tv/.
Not only was the online game addictive, but it was the only way to apply for the TV show. Once a player won two games, they could unlock the application form.
One of Channel 4’s key strategies this year is to ‘engage directly with individual viewers’ rather than broadcast to anonymous audiences.
As soon as you sign up to play THE BANK JOB online, Channel 4 knows your name and email address and, if you are happy to tell them, your gender and where you live. Previously, it was left to Amazon, Google and Apple to create complicated algorithms from our personal data. But advertisers now expect TV broadcasters to have a far closer relationship with their audiences than ever before and offer more integrated ad opportunities across several platforms.
As Channel 4’s Multiplatform Commissioning Lead, Louise Brown says, ‘Every commission should teach us more about our audience through data tracking and collection and actively improve our relationship with viewers’.
Series two will air in February, but this time, players will have to win three tournaments, rather than two, in order to unlock the application form.
As Louise Brown adds ‘In terms of entertainment potential you’ve only just seen the start of The Bank Job’.