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Ever since the news that the Victoria Secret Fashion Show had been cancelled for 2019 began to circulate, one question has loomed. Why is the lingerie showcase not happening? With an exception in 2004, the broadcast fashion show has been a television staple since it first aired in 2001.
Eighteen years after making its TV debut on ABC, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will not appear on any network in 2019. Meaning the chance to see your favorite models walk the runway while being serenaded by music’s top talent is not going to happen. Why isn’t it? L Brands’ CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer has explained the reason, saying (via Business Insider):
In terms of in a granular way, specifically as timing over the years shifted in terms of the airing of the fashion show, did we see specific material impact on short term sales response to the airing of the fashion show? As a general matter, the answer to that question is no. So if you're like, 'Oh my God, Stuart, are you freaked out about the day after the fashion show result and what's going to happen,' it did air at different times over the years and we didn't see a material impact on the next few days' results.
In other words, having the Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show air on television did not have a huge impact on sales. People would watch without shopping afterward. At least, not in close enough succession that it was clear that seeing the fashion show on television made sales soar. Hence, it was not in Victoria’s Secret’s interest to do the show this year.
L Brands’ CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer points out that the show aired during different times over the years. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show had traditionally aired before the holidays. It usually makes its way to television in either November or December. So, with December rapidly approaching, an announcement had to be made, and this year, it was to forego it.
On a television level, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show was not a huge ratings grabber during its latest outing. Last year’s December-aired show drew in a scant 3.3 million viewers, per Variety. To put those numbers in perspective, they are slightly higher than what ABC’s freshman drama, Emergence, recently pulled in.
Worth noting is that on YouTube, 2018’s show currently has 15+ million views. Without high network ratings, and no sign that having the show air did anything for Victoria’s Secret’s sale prices, the decision seems pretty business forward. It may not be the last viewers have seen of the pop culture staple. This decision affects 2019’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Maybe, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will go the way of Dancing with the Stars and take some time off before returning again? Perhaps its annual absence will make viewers’ hearts grow fonder, and the runway spectacular can return on top. Television has already seen some significant cancellations, so the fashion extravaganza has company.
Through the years, ABC and CBS have both been hosts to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. CBS aired the 2017 show. Will it ever return to either network? Time will tell. Victoria’s Secret is not getting a bang for its buck, so that is undoubtedly a lot of it.
Given how many things streaming has saved through the years, it makes me wonder. If it ever returns, could a streaming service be The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show’s new home? Or will the show be gone for good? Stay tuned.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will not be among this winter’s premieres.