Big Emotions, Viewer Engagement for ‘Big Brother’: How the CBS Hit Delivers for Brands

If there’s one genre of television that consistently gets people talking, it’s reality TV. And although we frequently see plenty of conversation around buzzy cable shows like VH1’s Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta or Bravo’s The Real Housewives franchise, Big Four broadcaster CBS continues to have one of TV’s most engaging shows with its enduringly popularBig Brother, which thrusts “houseguests” into close living quarters and has them compete for cash prizes.

Drama (always) ensues, much to fans’ delight, and, as you’d expect from a show like this, emotions run high on and off the screen.

B&C worked with Canvs, the emotion analytics company, to see how people have reacted to season 19 so far, which started on June 28 and consists of seven episodes already thanks to the show’s three-episode-a-week schedule. (We also conducted an advertiser analysis with data from More on that further down.)

Overall, there have been 163,024 Emotional Reactions (ERs) to episodes this summer, making “BB19” the most reacted-to series by far since it premiered on June 28. As usual, the premiere had the most conversation volume (41,063 ERs). Love has been the most frequently expressed feeling, occurring in 19.7% of ERs. Other top ERs include excitement, craziness and funny.

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— jay (@jayyy_lene) June 29, 2017

Big Brother is seriously the best part of the summer #bb19

— claudia (@urbanloser) July 6, 2017

Big Brother has me shook

— JJ (@JadenMichalek) July 6, 2017

this drama is sooooo funny #BB19

— ️️️️️️️️️️️️️ (@securedbieber) July 10, 2017

Cody and Paul have been the most-discussed contestants, and it’s worth noting that while fans aren’t so keen about the former, they love the latter, who is actually the runner-up from last season. (Case in point: Cody appears in 27.8% of all ERs expressing dislike, while Paul is mentioned in 13% of love ERs.)


— Sof  (@saltysofff) June 29, 2017

God, I hate Cody so much. #BB19

— Rob (@ElderPoptart) June 30, 2017

This is the best season of Big Brother in a long time! Cody and Jessica - uh oh, you in trouble fools! #BB19

— Regan Isaacs (@I_Regan_I) July 7, 2017

It’s clear that fans are engaged with the show itself, but how are BB19 advertisers faring with the season? We used data from, the attention and conversion analytics platform for TV advertising, to see which companies are holding attention during the show.

In total so far this season, 103 brands have aired 159 spots over 300 times during Big Brother episodes, resulting in 663.6 million TV ad impressions. What’s good news for advertisers is that the average view rate for a commercial during this show is over 91% (view rate is the percentage of an ad that, on average, was viewed across all airings of that ad). A short list of major brands are doing particularly well during the show, with view rates hovering around 99%.

Also important: The majority of viewers are watching each episode live.

So not only are viewers glued to the screen during the actual episodes, they’re sticking around and watching during the commercial breaks, too. Results like this would be a win any time of year, but given the summer TV doldrums, it’s even more valuable for brands to have programming like BB19 to draw viewers in and keep them engaged from start to finish.

Eleanor Semeraro is an analyst and contributor with TV [R]EV.