Understanding the winners and losers around a new TV season used to be incredibly straightforward. There were three main broadcast channels, they all released their new Fall shows at the exact same time, and audiences would watch television when it aired, so if a particular show was connecting with viewers, the TV industry would know about it the next morning.
Those days are long gone, and now generating awareness around a new TV show, let alone understanding if the program has an engaged audience, is far more complicated. In such an environment where there’s so many more content options and so many different ways to view content, social media has become the virtual water cooler, where audiences talk about the shows they love and hear about other ones they should check out.
With that in mind, ListenFirst examined the social media winners and losers from Fall TV Premiere Week (September 23-29, 2019), and based on the data found the following key findings for television marketers.
Social Media Lesson #1: Streaming Shows Are Being Consumed Differently And Need To Be Judged Differently
With a Social Engagement score of 215,512 Netflix’s The Politician was the show debuting during Premiere Week (September 23-29, 2019) that generated the post responses and fan growth on social media, and had a Social Engagement score at least 114% higher than any other show debuting during that week.
However, as Netflix released the entire first season at once, there was obviously more The Politician content to discuss on social media as opposed to the new broadcast shows, where audiences were given just one episode to digest. However, determining the success of a show with a binge release strategy requires a more apples to apples comparison. For example, Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance generated 49% more Social Engagement the week of August 25 – 31, 2019 around its release compared to The Politician during its first week.
Lesson #2: Dramas Should Play Up Personal Relationships On Social
With a Social Engagement score of 100,553 and an Interest Score of 137,689, the crime drama Prodigal Son was the new broadcast TV show that generated the most social media conversation between September 23-29, 2019. The content that performed the best for Prodigal Son on their social media channel emphasized the relationship between the serial killer dad and his crime fighting son. A Facebook post asking “Does Dr. Whitly really care for his son?“ generated 2,689 Responses on Facebook. For shows trying to balance procedural elements with more soap opera like elements, content focusing on the personal relationships between the characters is what will increase interest on social media.
Lesson #3: Sitcoms Have More Impact Through Social Media Video
Video is an important social media tactic for all of these TV programs. This is especially true for sitcoms which are less plot-driven and rely more on tone—something that can only be conveyed by seeing. Between September 23-29, 2019, of the 10 new TV shows with the highest Interest Score only two, Mixed-ish and Bless The Harts were sitcoms. However, in the same time period, of the 10 premiering show with the most YouTube and Facebook Video Views, 4 were sitcoms: Mixed-ish, Perfect Harmony, Sunnyside, and Bless The Harts.
For sitcoms, TV marketers should focus on a more video-focused social media strategy.
Lesson #4: If You Have Musical Clips, Share Them On Social Media
Drilling down more into the performance of Perfect Harmony, which is about choir practice at a small-town church, video views outperformed their interest score because musical content is more engaging. During the week of September 23-29, 2019, the top performing content for Perfect Harmony on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube was video that heavily featured a mashup performance of “Hallelujah” and “Eye of the Tiger”.
Musical content lends itself to repeat viewings, is often more viral, and when a part of a new TV show, should be shared as much as possible on social media platforms.
Lesson #5: Remember, TV Marketing On Social Is A Marathon Not A Sprint
Last year, the new TV show that generated the most conversation during Premiere Week was Murphy Brown which had an Interest Score of 67,956 between Sept. 24-30, 2018. Ultimately, the revival was not renewed for a second season. For sure, it’s beyond the control of marketers if the audience likes a show or not once they do sample it, but it’s also important to keep in mind that the social media strategy for a show shouldn’t stop evolving once it’s on the air.
Being able to continually optimize what is and isn’t working about a TV Page’s content is essential is maintaining a long term social media relationship with a show’s fanbase.
Regardless of what type of television show is being promoted, having more data will give a clearer picture on the right social media strategy. Working with a social analytics solution as robust as ListenFirst, TV marketers have the tools necessary around both owned content and competitors insights to effectively grow their social media presence.
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