I can't help but be interested in audience engagement metrics! Part of my job is to stay across the ratings for the programs on the network I work for. My work day can be greatly affected by ratings, whether it's the mood in the office when something kills it or the flurry of meetings when something horribly fails, or the sudden need to produce a new promo campaign to change the direction of the sell, or to capitalise on the success of a sell. Every morning, especially during ratings period, checking how my network's shows did the night before and where the network sits overall, is part of my routine.
Over the years there's been a considerable drop in traditional TV ratings numbers as TV viewership becomes more fractured by new viewing habits and viewing across different platforms and devices. Broadcast and Cable networks are now starting to (finally) look at various metrics that measure audience engagement across all areas, taking into count PVR ratings and catchup via streaming, and also across social media. We saw Nielsen launch their Twitter rankings not so long ago, which is a measurement of audience engagement with television brands across twitter using hashtags. If your show is trending No 1 on Twitter or has 1 million likes of Facebook, that might not necessarily mean you're getting the biggest audience numbers for the night, but what you are getting is an audience so engaged with your product that they want to talk about it, and that's a very good thing.
So I found this little nugget super interesting when I came across it this morning; an audience engagement measurement that looks at the most hashtagged TV programs on Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for TV programs on Wikipedia - across all viewing platforms.
CynopsisMedia posted as part of their digital news roundup, that the social analytics company ListenFirst Media aimed its Television Interest (TVI) Rating at the entirety of 2015 to look at which show had maximum viewer engagement across the targeted social platforms.
"This TVI Rating is a standardised measurement of the most buzzed-about TV programs on linear TV and streaming services. The metrics included in the rating are the purest form of showing interest digitally, since they’re organic actions that are largely unaffected by paid media. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume)."
So... TA DA! Here are last year’s leaders in the All Series 2015 Roundup - the most buzzed about TV shows of 2015 according to ListenFirst Media. Our fandom sure must love a hashtag!
Of course, this is just one measurement by just one company, and there's a ways to go until the networks and advertisers totally embrace all forms of audience engagement measurements and not just run their schedules and campaigns based solely on how many people tuned in the good old traditional viewing way, but slowly and surely, it's happening. And for someone who believes that the value of a TV program brand to a network and advertiser is represented by more than simply an overnight viewing number, and who spends a good portion of their life on social media (mostly talking about Supernatural), these kind of aggregate studies of social media engagement totally pop my cork! Doesn't hurt that Supernatural came in at number 1 either ;) .