What TV Shows Can Do With Insights From The Online Conversation

by , Dec 18, 2013, 9:40 AM
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Back when the only way to watch a TV show was to sit down in front of the television at night, getting reliable, accurate statistics on the viewing audience was much easier for broadcasters and advertisers. Today, time-shifting with DVRs and on-demand content from cable and online sources have fragmented audiences, making it difficult to get viewership statistics using traditional methods of measurement.

Without those statistics, justifying advertising spend becomes harder for brands, and selling ad time becomes harder for media outlets. The trend is only accelerating: Major broadcasters like Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS are putting their content online, while Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and others are creating original content that can only be watched online.

So where can broadcasters and brands turn for insight into who is watching when, what content, the ads viewers like and don't like, and much more? The same place the shows have migrated to: online. Media and entertainment (M&E) companies can use social analytics to listen to, understand, and obtain actionable insights from the social conversation. They can get insight into audience opinions, emotions and behaviors -- insights marketers can use to do real-time marketing and make changes to campaigns and messaging quickly enough to keep up with consumers.

Here are five major areas where M&E companies can use insights from the online discussion to deliver a better product and gain a competitive edge.  

  1. Audience: Find out when and where your audience is talking by getting real-time feedback months before, during and after a show. Analyze your audience not just on Twitter but across millions of data sources to get a comprehensive picture. Go deeper than top-line metrics and analyze not only key terms within the conversation, but emotional and behavioral patterns, and likes and dislikes. Track fan voting on reality shows as it happens, read verbatim fan comments, and analyze reasons for fans' preferences.
  2. Competition: Track show performance relative to competing shows from other providers by genre, time slots, episodes and seasons. Compare one episode or season of your own show with another via multi-time-period analysis and benchmark key metrics. Analyze the factors that go into a successful show and develop plans for making course corrections as necessary.
  3. Content: Rank show performance to find not only the most talked about hits, but the Most Loved, Most Watched, Most Anticipated, by gender and location. Analyze the connection your audience makes with your show, plot lines, story lines, characters and more, and do so both in real-time and over specific time periods. Identify which content elements (e.g., the music used in a commercial) resonate with viewers and why.
  4. Marketing: Promote your show more successfully, increase fan loyalty, and attract new viewers by analyzing where viewers are talking (forums, blogs, show Web sites) and engaging with them. Evaluate how successful you were at engaging fans to interact with the show further. Decide whether you want to use incentives and custom messaging to keep influential voices talking positively about your show.
  5. Advertising: Assess how advertising messages performed to make ad selling more efficient and make in-flight adjustments to live programming and advertising campaigns. You can quantify aspects such as ad impact, lift, virality and memorability. Determine which participating advertisers receive conversation lifts in terms of share of conversation, sentiment and passion intensity.

Traditional measurement techniques no longer yield an accurate picture of the audience for a TV show or ad because viewers watch at different times, via different channels, and voice opinions all over the Web. The way to understand who is watching shows and ads -- and what they think of them and why -- is to analyze the social conversation. M&E companies can do that by adopting a social analytics solution, which can lead them to the insights they need to optimize content and messaging and connect at a deeper level with viewers, grow their audience, and boost the success of their offerings.

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