With the 2019 SUN ‘n FUN International Expo, startup production group LiveAirshowTV took a leap forward in its mission to create valuable broadcast content for airshows and their partners. This was the fourth year in a row SUN ‘n FUN has hired the company to provide broadcast and marketing services. Along with the event itself, the results have grown every year and this year achieved over a quarter of a million video views and 1.5 million social media impressions for the event. View times also showed a 25% increase across platforms from the previous years’ coverage, averaging over 30 minutes for those watching on Livestream.
“The integration of Live Airshow TV has given our event a new level of performance,” said Greg Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer and Airshow Director for SUN ‘n FUN. “We are reaching audiences and literally creating fans around the world, and many have told us they came to the event after seeing past broadcasts. It’s an invaluable asset to our show.”
While LiveAirshowTV started by producing TV coverage displayed on airfield jumbotrons, in recent years it has expanded broadcast distribution to internet and social media. This year it added YouTube to the mix, which previously included Livestream and Facebook Live. The addition proved successful, more than doubling the total number of views from last year. Airshow and aviation fans watched from more than 100 countries around the world.
The broadcast production itself was the largest undertaken by LiveAirshowTV to date. Starting Friday and running through Sunday, SUN ‘n FUN’s live “Preflight Show” came on at 11 A.M. and ran live for two hours. Similar to live, on-site pregame shows at major sporting events, the show was anchored by a sportscaster and well-known airshow announcer. It had guest appearances by performers, airshow officials and sponsor representatives. It also included a live, on-ramp reporter and special features about aircraft on static display, airport history and the SUN ‘n FUN mission. The hosts then handed off coverage to the announcers just in time for the opening airshow performer.
For the airshow portion of the telecast, LiveAirshowTV added new production elements, including extensive factoids graphics that informed audiences on everything from pilot backgrounds to military aircraft armament. The graphics – over 250 individual pieces of information – ran throughout the performances to make for a much more engaging viewing experience. Additionally, each performance was highlighted with LASTV’s exclusive performer introductions and personality pieces – video features commonly seen in other motorsports coverage.
This year included a viewer survey confirming a few key data points about airshow broadcast. First, a large portion of the audience indicated that watching the livestream made them morelikely to attend SUN ‘n FUN (or another air show near them) in the future, pointing to the ability of live broadcast to drive ticket sales. Second, about 15% of the audience indicated that they were pilots or otherwise active in. This should be of interest to aviation company marketers facing a challenge targeting likely customers for their products. Moreover, well over 40% of viewers said they had an “interest in becoming a pilot or otherwise involved in aviation”, which should be of interest to those tasked with industry recruiting efforts in the face of a looming pilot shortage.
SUN ‘n FUN sponsors received over 10 million individual brand impressions from on-screen graphics and sponsor videos played during downtime between performers. Gibson has created multiple sponsorship packages incorporating the Live Airshow TV assets for SUN ‘n FUN. “The onsite branding with the jumbotrons combined with the global reach of the LiveAirshowTV streaming broadcast has created a powerful marketing tool for us. The ability to deliver not only traditional advertising but professionally produced entertainment content with millions of impressions is very attractive to sponsors, and we generate substantial revenue from the sale of sponsorship and advertising during the programming.”
Finally, over 20 hours of live television from the event is now available on-demand, including plenty of material for sponsor branded clips, promotional highlights and other custom content for SUN ‘n FUN to use throughout the year.
“The biggest misconception about our group is that we just ‘do the jumbotrons’ for airshows,” said Phillip Hurst, LiveAirshowTV’s general manager. “What we really are is a content creator and marketing service for airshows. What we do creates a digital footprint across multiple channels that goes far beyond the actual show day experience.”
Gibson said, “For about the cost of 50 cents from each ticket sold, SUN ‘n FUN and The Aerospace Center for Excellence have been able to partner with LiveAirshowTV to create an ambitious, innovative, and successful airshow telecast. This partnership has definitely furthered the stature of our event by generating significant sponsor revenue and promoting our mission to engage, educate, and accelerate the next generation of aerospace professionals.”