Stats on Stickiness

In my continuing stream of consciousness thoughts on the upfront I’d like to turn to some qualitative metrics. The buying process doesn’t just rest on the numeric size of the audience, the target being selected or the cost. Buying also includes metrics on the nature of the audience’s reactions. Qualitative metrics are used to measure the impact of the exposure on items such as recall of the commercials and word of mouth. Agencies bring together a variety of these metrics such as Optimedia’s Power Content Score and MagnaGlobal’s Dimensions. These metrics allow the buyer to shave off inventory and reshape packages based on harder rules than, “I just don’t like this show.” Qualitative metrics are part of the reality that media is still a large part art, not just science. But the art does have basis in reality, which I would like to highlight.

One metric based in reality is Rentrak’s TV Engagement Index also known as the “Stickiness Index.” In brief – this is the index of the percent of the audience that watched the show, compared to the average for all shows of that length. It is based on work done at Zenith, which showed that viewers who chose to watch more of a program were up to 40% more likely to recall the same ads than people who only watched a little of the show. So, controlling for exposure, people who watch more of a show, are more likely to remember the ad. If higher recall is important for a brand, then looking at Stickiness is important. Brands also care about the environment that they appear in. Many brands want to be where the “buzz” is – on programs that get a lot of water cooler chatter. The modern version of the water cooler is social media. Bluefin Labs provides Rentrak with its index of Social Media chatter. Similarly, programs that generate the most social media comments will have a higher Social Media Index rating. Bluefin’s Social Media Index indicates the amount of social media “chatter” that a given TV show is generating among all the shows that were discussed via social media. An index of 100 means that the show is generating an average amount of discussion, and because the amount of social media discussion varies widely, the Social Media Index ranking numbers can go up to many thousands. In short, the Social Media Index answers the question – is this show talked about?

What is interesting to see is that these two qualitative indices, one of Stickiness, indicating potential recall impact, and Social Media, indicating “buzz,” don’t end up scoring programs the same. The table below shows the average indices across the same programs for the past 12 weeks. The shows included are those that had the highest Stickiness Index program. Similarly, programs that generate the most social media comments will have a higher Social Media Index rating. The Social Media Index covers a range from 0 to many thousands; its value indicates the amount of social media “chatter” that a given TV show is generating among all the shows that were discussed via social media. An index of 100 means that the show is generating an average amount of discussion, and because the amount of social media discussion varies widely, the Social Media Index ranking numbers can go up to many thousands.

A few key things that jump out in my mind:

  • Sports and awards shows are really talked about! Who won what is something people are very interested in.
  • Hispanic shows and dramas really hold their audiences. (Bluefin is about to do a Social Media Index for Hispanic programming, but the numbers were not available at this time.)
  • The difference in the range of the indices, which is the function of what is being looked at. The range of Stickiness is limited by the number of minutes in a show because the index can’t go very high. However, millions (or no-one) could be talking about a TV show, so the Social Media index could soar into the millions.

And there isn’t a great correlation between these two metrics. High Stickiness, or sitting tied to your set, may or may not be highly related to a comment on Facebook. Both have value, but it is up to the artist, I mean the client, to decide which to emphasize.

AVERAGE INDEX

Genre

# of Telecasts

Rentrak Stickiness Index

Bluefin Social Media Index

Music

1

129

21,850

Politics/Public Affairs

1

128

67,610

Awards

2

128

433,595

Talk Show

1

123

28

Hispanic

110

121

NA

Reality

99

121

10,373

Drama

535

120

2,284

Movies

45

118

297

Sports

24

116

55,663

News Mag

7

116

602

Science Fiction/Fantasy

10

115

14,800

Home

3

114

172

Comedy

16

114

706

Kids

15

113

724

Documentary

23

113

323

Game Show

12

111

1,113

News/Talk

10

110

49

In case you don’t know, I am Bruce Goerlich, Chief Research Officer at Rentrak, the global standard in movie measurement and your TV Everywhere measurement and research company. I have been in the research end of the marketing business for more than 30 years primarily on the ad agency side, with my last stint prior to Rentrak in the role of President, Strategic Resources Zenith Optimedia North America.  Somewhere along the way I morphed from young Turk to old fogey. Now that I have grey hair and am horizontally-challenged, I can speak with some authority on advertising and research issues – which I will do from time-to-time on this blog

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