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Without Traditional Metrics, TV Studios Turn to Social Media, says YouGov

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At #SMWLA, Hamish Brocklebank, Managing Director & Founder of YouGov Signal, shared key insights into the way television studios and production companies are monitoring viewership through social media.

The TV Industry has a problem. When they sell a show to a streaming service like Netflix or similar, they don’t have traditional metrics to evaluate its success. How do you determine viewership numbers? How can you best monetize your content, optimize your marketing, identify which IP to exploit, and leverage your deals with streaming services?

During #SMWLA Hamish Brocklebank, Managing Director & Founder of YouGov Signal, addressed these questions and shared key insights into the way television studios and production companies are monitoring viewership through social media.

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In 2018, 79 percent of the top television series were distributed through a streaming service rather than via traditional television.

In an era where streaming services are growing rapidly and transforming the industry, being able to utilize social media metrics as a proxy for traditional viewership numbers is a valuable service – allowing TV studios can monitor the popularity of their brands even in the absence of traditional ratings.

“It’s very difficult often to know exactly what’s going on with your content when you’re selling it to Amazon, Netflix or Hulu… they don’t provide the stats — for quite sensible reasons — because they want to maintain as much leverage as they can…therefore, it becomes extremely important to measure in any way that you can,” Brocklebank said.

He then described how YouGov navigates this by using the size of engagement on Facebook or Instagram. “We can use these as comparative measures to tell our clients from a relative perspective how well their TV shows are, or are not, performing,” he added.

Looking at The Right Metrics

YouGov Signal tracks thousands of brands and companies online and considers a variety of sources when evaluating a brand’s social audience. In addition to common metrics including number of total fans, engagement rate, and video views, they also consider indexed search volume, Wikipedia page views, news articles, product reviews, social sentiment, and industry-specific metrics like piracy downloads and IMDB score. By taking this holistic approach, YouGov Signal is able to combine the data into one number that gives a brand’s “TV Appetite Score”.

The “TV Appetite Score”

YouGov Signal’s “TV Appetite Score” measures an audience’s enthusiasm for a particular TV Show based on a range from zero to one hundred, and is available across 30+ worldwide markets and several languages. They rank shows by their highest or “peak” score, as well as by their average score for a particular time period. Brocklebank shared that the TV shows with the highest average “TV Appetite Score” in 2018 were Riverdale, Game of Thrones, The Office, and Friends.

Social Platform Trends

In addition to demonstrating some of YouGov Signal’s analytics capabilities, Brocklebank commented on some of the trends he’s seeing in social media for the entertainment industry. “Instagram… it’s becoming such a big thing in terms of the TV space… we are seeing that when you are building up a TV show… most of the people choose to engage on Insta…If you take the movie side of things, it’s actually the other way around. Unless it’s a really, really big established franchise… Youtube is where we see all the video action happening.”

Beyond Television

Brocklebank focused the conversation primarily on television because, as he explained, “the lifecycle of a TV show is in many ways a compressed version of a brand”. YouGov Signal also provides research and analytics for other industries, including brands, sports, and games.

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