Commentary

Can A Website Make Or Break A New TV Show?

Pre-theatrical movie marketing, promotion and critical reviews are key for new theatrical movies. Can a new TV show be affected by the same dynamic?

In a recent New York Times story, movie studio executives seem to give increasing credence to positive or negative review scores on Rotten Tomatoes -- especially with its Tomatometer scores.

Much of this arose when considering the dismal box-office results of the movie business this summer -- a 15% decline versus the year before, with some of the worse revenue results in nearly two decades.

Instead of reading many individual reviews, moviegoers can get a quality indication of a film via a single Rotten Tomatoes score -- an algorithm of some 3,000 critics. A score of 75% or more signifies “certified fresh.” Over 60% earns a “fresh” tomato, and a 59% or lower number gives a “rotten” tomato mark.

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A theatrical film’s success path is unlike a new TV show. With films, you virtually get one shot at success -- typically, the first weekend. Critics’ reviews are a big piece of the puzzle.

With TV, there can be a somewhat easier time. A TV series can build its audience through a number of episode -- a trajectory historically embraced by TV executives.

Currently, Rotten Tomatoes gives a 100% score to HBO's "Insecure," 96% for HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” 94% for USA Network’s miniseries “The Sinner,” 93% for Showtime’s “Twin Peaks: The Return,” 92% for Amazon’s “The Tick,” 91% for Discovery’s “Manhunt” and 84% for HBO’ “Room 104.”

TV executives eye all digital media content, especially after a TV series airs. Still, overall social media remains vague in tracking ongoing results of TV projects.

Surely, multitasking consumers interacting on social media while watching their TV living-room screens reveal some interesting data. But can researchers determine future TV behavior of those shows? Sure, but perhaps only for a niche part of the audience.

Before airing a show, TV studios employ traditional TV focus groups -- where content can be shown to a studio audience in a controlled environment. It remains a major piece of the decision-making for TV networks and production companies.

TV program growth will continue. But for many, there is a need for better TV content discovery -- as well as critical insight.

2 comments about "Can A Website Make Or Break A New TV Show?".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 9, 2017 at 8:41 p.m.

    What percentage of consumers fill out the scores with detailed info about what they liked or didn't like and why ?  Yeah.

  2. Rhodes Mason from Internet Video Archive LLC, September 13, 2017 at 2:38 p.m.

    With over 500 new shows coming out in a year, the big question is: how do consumers find what content they want to see?  Where movie trailers have been the major component of how consumers decide on what to see in theaters (more important than a Rotten Tomatoes score and has been used by consumers for over 100 years), TV content does not do well taking advantage of all the free promotion they could get.  Where are the trailers for their content?  In many cases, behind their walled garden which is so 1999.  Why are they locking up their best way of promoting their shows when competition for eyeballs has never been rougher?  Not sure but they should get more trailers out there and very suprised their marketing departments are not doing more.  Just posting on your website, FB, and YouTube cuts it.

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