Commentary

Which NewFronts Shows Will be Hits?

I predict the video industry will be awash in predictions.

No, it’s not because I have an awesome crystal ball. It’s because once an industry amasses enough data, then predictions are a natural outgrowth. But predictions also represent a logical desire to understand a market. This week the online video business is focused on the Digital Content NewFronts, run by the  Interactive Advertising Bureau, which reported that original professional online video captures the attention of 45 million U.S. viewers per month.

And with so many shows being touted at the NewFronts, which ones are likely to be winners? Relying on a market research system it’s used for the broadcast and cable upfronts, metrics firm NewMediaMetrics tested 19 original shows commissioned by Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Studios and has declared four likely to be winners:

•         “Zombieland” (Amazon Studios)

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•          “The Onion: Presents the News” (Amazon Studios)

•          “Prisoners of War” (Hulu)

•          “Lilyhammer” (Netflix)

The predictions comes from the emotional attachment viewers express based on information about the shows shared with 3,000 people in the test group, who rate shows based on the “emotional pull of the premise.” Shows on the bubble include: “Hemlock Grove” (Netflix); “Alpha House” (Amazon Studios); and Hulu’s “Behind the Mask,” “The Wrong Mans” and “Braquo.”

While I’m hesitant to believe that a show description offers viewers enough insight into whether they might like it, the company has had success with its predictions over the past seven years. NewMediaMetrics said it’s accurately predicted 67% of the new TV series that would fail in the first season, including “The Event” (NBC); “Lonestar” (Fox); “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” (Fox); “Pan Am” (ABC); “Animal Practice” (NBC); and “Made in Jersey (CBS), and has also predicted that “Brothers and Sisters” on ABC, “Glee” on Fox, and “NCIS: Los Angeles” on CBS would be hits.

Also on the prediction front, digital video measurement service Visible Measures paired up with VivaKi to build a video planning tool that can predict viral video performance. Being able to plan for viral success would be a huge boon to marketers, since viral video -- by its nature -- is unpredictable. But now that there is enough data in the market about what becomes viral, Visible Measures is aiming to harness data to understand how to drive hits. Visible Measures said the tool -- called Contagion -- can help media buyers see how different media strategies affect earned media performance.

The tool will rely on data from Visible Measures analysis of more than 10,000 video ad campaigns, 500 million videos, and 3 trillion video views to project and measure earned media performance.

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