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ABC’s Once Upon a Time premieres to big ratings on TV and on Twitter

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Up next in our series of posts about what Twitter can tell us about new fall TV is an analysis of the most recent show to premiere, ABC’s Once Upon a Time. What did Twitter think of ABC’s new fairy tale drama? Let’s find out!

One of the last shows to premiere this fall season, Once Upon a Time aired for the first time on Sunday. Its premiere episode got really great ratings, garnering 12.8 million viewers and scoring a 3.9 rating in the desired 18-49 demo. To put that in context, TV|Line writes:

Once‘s tallies represent almost double what Extreme Makeover: Home Edition last did in the Sundays-at-8 slot. In fact, it’s ABC’s biggest audience in the time period with regular programming since March 2008 and its best 18-49 performance there in three years.

So, according to traditional TV audience ratings, the premiere of Once Upon a Time was a huge success for ABC. But what did the Twitterverse think? Were the Twitter ratings as high as the Nielsen ratings?

On Sunday, October 23, 2011 (the day of the first episode’s premier), 14,353 tweets about the show from 12,033 different people generated a reach of 6.55 million. Those are terrific numbers, with lots and lots of unique contributors, a healthy tweet volume, and an impressive reach. For comparison, here are the numbers for the premieres of two similar ABC shows (all three are hour-long dramas).

While Pan Am generated nearly twice as many tweets as Once Upon a Time on its first day, those tweets were posted by a smaller group of people and generated a much smaller reach. Revenge, which has already been picked up for a full season on ABC, generated fewer tweets, but had a very large reach. The size of both the contributor pool and the audience for those contributors’ tweets (as measured by reach) can tell us a great deal about a show’s popularity, particularly if we watch how these metrics trend over time. Take these graphs for recent tweets about ABC’s Pan Am and Revenge, showing tweets from 9/14 through 10/22, encompassing the first five episodes of both shows.
The spiky green graph represents tweet volume by day for each show, with large spikes on the day the show airs on television. The blue area represents weekly reach for each show. While the scales for the two shows differ, you can see a steady and alarming decline in both reach and tweet volume for Pan Am, after some initial interest during the first two shows. In contrast, Revenge seems to be picking up steam recently and is settling in to a solid pattern. (Note that reach plummets for both graphs on the right because the current week has just started, so weekly reach data is incomplete.)

But back to Once Upon a Time. Sure, the metrics for its first show look good, but what do the tweets about it actually say? Here are a few of the most-retweeted tweets.

Generally, most tweets with any opinion included a similar positive sentiment. It’s still very, very early – the show only premiered yesterday – but these tweets are definitely a good start. And of course, not everyone loved the show. Below are a few examples of less-than-glowing reviews. But even most of the popular negative sentiment tweets weren’t really all that negative, which is certainly a good sign (compare that to tweets about the now-canceled Playboy Club, which saw lots of highly negative tweets).

So, we’ll keep an eye on this show as it finds its footing in ABC’s Sunday night lineup. It’s still way too early to decide if this show will eventually get the axe or not, but based on early reactions, I predict that ABC will keep it around, at least for now (and based on that graph above, it’s probably safe to bet that Pan Am will be canceled soon). We’ll see how both shows do over the next few weeks.

Did you watch Once Upon a Time? What did you think?

Written by Jenn D

October 24th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Posted in Trends

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Will FOX cancel Terra Nova?

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By now you’ve probably seen one of our posts about this season’s new fall TV shows. For a few weeks, we’ve been using TweetReach to track tweets about all 25 new shows (we’re down to 22 now), and using the tweets to try to predict which ones will be canceled. And we thought it would be fun to bring a guest blogger who knows even more about TV than we do to help make predictions.

So, welcome Adam Rucker to the TweetReach blog! Adam’s been blogging and making videos about TV and pop culture for a long time. He’s even appeared on TV a few times. Here on our blog, Adam will sharing some of his – and Twitter’s – thoughts on new fall shows. And if you like what you see here, you can find Adam on Twitter at @ruckermore, on his YouTube channel, and on his blog

This week, Adam takes on FOX’s new show, Terra Nova. Will it be canceled? Let’s see what Adam thinks!

One of the biggest bets of the fall season is the one FOX took on its new sci-fi series Terra Nova. The show, which begins in the year 2149, stars Jason O’Mara as the head of a family that travels 75 million years into the past to live amongst the dinosaurs in “Terra Nova.”

The premise of the show is exciting in nature: super director Steven Spielberg produces the time-traveling mix of Lost, Jurassic Park, and Avatar. It’s also the most expensive new show in production this year with a pilot that cost a rumored $20 million to create and subsequent episodes that cost around $4 million each.

Unlike most shows, FOX ordered 13 episodes of Terra Nova when the original pilot was greenlit, meaning it’s unlikely that FOX will pull the plug on the show before it shows all the episodes it’s already paid for. Still, it is the viewer response to these episodes that will determine if FOX decides to continue pouring money into its investment or fill Terra Nova’s valuable Monday night time slot with another spinoff of Hell’s Kitchen starring Gordon Ramsay.

So what is the Twitter world saying about the big budget drama? In its first week on the air, Terra Nova generated nearly 90,000 tweets from more than 50,000 contributors reaching about 18.2 million people, which is nearly 10 million more than reached the recently cancelled Playboy Club (12K tweets from 9K contributors, with a reach of 8.6 million). Interestingly, the several weeks since the premiere haven’t generated much more attention for the show. In total, 111,000 tweets have reached 20.7 million pairs of eyes. But the attention doesn’t mean anything if it’s bad attention.

A look at the top four highest exposure tweets includes three from Entertainment Weekly linking to articles on the show, but number four is a simple review from English television host, Jonathan Ross:

This tweet was retweeted 111 times, reaching even further beyond @wossy’s own 1.2 million followers.

A tweet by E!’s television critic, Kristin Dos Santos, mocking the show’s inferiority to one of her favorites, Lost, reached her 73,000 followers and was retweeted 28 times.

Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the show either. Despite the big bucks spent on production, it came off as cheap and even cheesy in some parts.

But to be fair, not all of the Twitterverse had bad things to say about the show. Drew Carey’s positive review went out to his 627,000 followers and gained a spot as one of the highest exposure tweets about the show.

 

Jared English, founder of the incredibly popular celebrity gossip blog, JustJared.com, also had far-reaching kind words for the dino-thriller.

But what does it all mean anyway? For an expensive show like Terra Nova, my guess is a lot. A thumbs up or thumbs down from any one of these influential tweeters could very easily result in the loss or gain of hundreds of thousands (or in some cases, millions) of viewers. While various reports show that Terra Nova’s ratings have been “respectable,” there’s no getting around the fact that it is up against some stiff competition, including ABC’s ratings behemoth, Dancing with the Stars.

It just depends on what FOX executives are looking for. The network recently picked up its new comedy series, New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel, for a full season. While the budget of this good-natured, apartment-based comedy is probably a tenth of Terra Nova’s (and also generated far fewer tweets and tweeters), New Girl has reached nearly two million more Twitter users during its time on the air.

There’s still time for Terra Nova (at least 10 more episodes), but my guess is that, unless it gains a devoted following (quickly), FOX is going to stop paying the bills and its 13th episode will probably be its last.

Do you think Terra Nova is headed for extinction? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Written by admin

October 11th, 2011 at 5:15 am

Posted in Trends

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First fall TV show cancellations – The Playboy Club and Free Agents

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This week, NBC announced that it’s canceling both The Playboy Club and Free Agents. So, our question is, did the tweet numbers predict this? The answer is a resounding yes in the case of Free Agents, but in the case of The Playboy Club, the answer is slightly less obvious.

In its first week on the air, The Playboy Club garnered more than 12K tweets from 9K contributors, generating a reach of more than 8.6 million. And during the last three weeks, there have been more than 36K tweets posted about the show. These are not insignificant numbers; The Playboy Club consistently fell in the middle of our rankings based on volume, reach and contributors. But the picture looks less rosy when we dig into some of the tweets about the show and who’s posting them.

@HughHefner and other Playboy-affiliated accounts drove much of the conversation about the show. Hefner tweeted 30 times in three weeks about it, generating 22% of all tweet impressions about The Playboy Club. Other popular tweets called The Playboy Club a poor imitation of Mad Men and made jokes about not watching it. More than 8K tweets were posted the day the show was canceled, making it the highest volume day so far for the show. That’s probably not a good sign – more people talked about the show being canceled than the show’s premiere.

As for Free Agents, it was one of the three shows we discussed last week as a sure bet for early cancellation. It didn’t receive much attention on Twitter, only generating 8,900 total tweets over three weeks. And the little conversation it did spark was pretty lukewarm – no one seemed to love it and no one seemed to hate it – and even the cast seemed to sense the show would be canceled. Here’s a tweet from the show’s leading actor, @HankAzaria:

So, really, no surprises there. And now we wonder, what show will be canceled next? Will it be FOX’s big and boring Terra Nova? Some of the quieter CBS shows like A Gifted Man or Unforgettable? Or will it be one of CW’s relative duds like H8R or Ringer? We’ll know soon, and we’ll keep you posted.

Written by Jenn D

October 6th, 2011 at 11:24 am

Posted in Trends

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Which shows will be first to go into the fall TV dead pool?

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So far, 20 of this fall’s 25 new network shows have aired. We’ve been tracking tweets about all 25 shows for more than two weeks and today it’s time to check in with our data and see how the shows are doing. I’m going to take my first guesses at which new shows will be cancelled this season, based on a few of our standard quantitative TweetReach metrics. A few caveats before we begin, however…

First, since these shows premiered and air at different times, these initial metrics will be somewhat biased towards the shows that began the earliest in the season. In the next few weeks, this advantage will disappear, but for now, take these numbers with a grain or two of salt. Consider them directional indicators for now. And I’m not including stats for the five shows that haven’t aired at the time of posting. Second, different networks have different audience and revenue expectations from their shows. So just because one show has a smaller reach does not mean it’s less successful than a show with a larger reach on a different network or targeted to a different audience. Finally, this week’s predictions are based on numbers only – we’ll get into the more qualitative and content-based data next week. A terrible show can still generate nearly as much conversation on Twitter as a really good one, and we’ll sort out some of those distinctions in future posts.

So, on to the predictions! I’m going to try a few different models this week to get started. I’ll update these predictions next week when we have more data.

Cancel the lowest performing show on each network, based on reach:

  • ABC – Suburgatory* (14.1M)
  • CBS – A Gifted Man (3.0M)
  • CW – Ringer (6.0M)
  • FOX – Terra Nova (16.5M)
  • NBC – Free Agents (3.3M)

*ABC still has three shows yet to air, so any of them could take over the lead in this position. Also, Suburgatory premiered just last night, so it could easily catch up to its peers in the next week or two.

Cancel the overall lowest performers, based on tweet volume:

1. CW – H8R (1K tweets)
2. CBS – A Gifted Man (3K tweets)
3 (tie). CW – Ringer, NBC – Free Agents, NBC – Prime Suspect (5K tweets)
4. CBS – Unforgettable (6K tweets)
5. ABC – Suburgatory (8K tweets)

Cancel the shows with the fewest people talking about them, based on unique contributors:

1. CW – H8R (<1K)
2. CBS – A Gifted Man (2K)
3 (tie). CW – Ringer (3K), NBC – Free Agents (3K)
4. NBC – Prime Suspect (4K)
5. ABC – Suburgatory (6K)
6. NBC – Whitney (7K)

Based on these three lists, I’d consider A Gifted Man, Free Agents, and Ringer pretty sure bets for cancellation. They show up in all three categories. (I’m giving Suburgatory one more week before we count it out, since it just started yesterday and the others have had more time to generate conversation.) And it’s not looking good for H8R or Prime Suspect either.

Finally, since I’d hate to end this post without saying something about the shows that are doing well on Twitter, here’s a few stats about some of the top performing shows.

The top five shows that seem safe, based on highest reach: 

  1. X Factor (37.3M)
  2. New Girl (21.5M)
  3. Charlie’s Angels (19.6M)
  4. Revenge (17.3M)
  5. Terra Nova (16.5)**

**While Terra Nova is FOX’s lowest performing show so far (it’s competing against the X Factor and New Girl), it still has a higher reach than most of the other shows.

The top five shows that seem safe, based on unique contributors: 

  1. FOX – X Factor (73K)
  2. FOX – New Girl (40K)
  3. FOX – Terra Nova (37K)
  4. ABC – Revenge (26K)
  5. ABC – Pan Am (25K)

We just learned that FOX’s New Girl was picked up for a full season. Based on the tweets, that seems like a good choice. It’s also looking pretty good for NBC’s Up All Night, CW’s The Secret Circle and Hart of Dixie, and CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, but I wouldn’t count my predictive chickens before they hatch. We’ll see what the tweets can tell us after another week of these shows.

So, what do you think? Have you seen any of these shows? Do these lists ring true with your experience? Tell us which shows you think will be cancelled (or picked up) in the comments.

Until next week, happy watching!

Written by Jenn D

September 29th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Trends

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New fall TV shows – which ones won’t last?

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At TweetReach, we’ve tracked a lot of tweets about television, from special events like the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Super Bowl, to regular weekly episodes of many of your favorite shows. That’s because we (and our customers) know that Twitter can tell us a lot about what an audience thinks about a show, from how much viewers tweet about a show, to when they tweet about it, to what they actually tweet about. There’s a lot we can learn about a TV program’s success just by analyzing the tweets about it.

So we thought it would be fun to track this fall’s 25 new shows on the five big broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC) to see what Twitter thinks about them. But we’re not content to just rank Twitter’s favorite shows. Oh no. Inspired by the New York Times’ Fall TV Season Ratings Pool and based on Twitter chatter, we’re going to predict what new fall shows will be canceled.

Want to play along? Leave your predictions in the comments. Which new shows do you think will be canceled? Or, even better, which new shows do you wish they’d cancel?

We’ll be posting throughout the fall with our updates, predictions and conclusions (and maybe we’ll even feature some special guests along the way!). For reference, here’s a list of the new fall shows, ordered by network.

ABC

  • Charlie’s Angels
  • Last Man Standing
  • Man Up
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Pan Am
  • Revenge
  • Suburgatory

CBS

  • 2 Broke Girls
  • A Gifted Man
  • How to Be a Gentleman
  • Person of Internet
  • Unforgettable

CW

  • H8R
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Ringer
  • The Secret Circle

FOX

  • New Girl
  • Terra Nova
  • X Factor

NBC

  • Free Agents
  • Grimm
  • Prime Suspect
  • The Playboy Club
  • Up All Night
  • Whitney

Written by Jenn D

September 19th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Posted in Trends

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The season finale of Game of Thrones in tweets

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Here at TweetReach, we’re big fans of the Games of Thrones franchise – the books and the HBO television show. So thought it would be fun to take a look at tweets about last night’s season finale. Here’s a word cloud made from tweets about the show, courtesy of Wordle (click on the picture for full size).

Written by Jenn D

June 20th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Trends

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The final episode of The Oprah Show in tweets, both sad and sarcastic

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Yesterday, we tracked 253,321 tweets from 160,458 Twitterers about Oprah Winfrey’s final episode of The Oprah Show. The tweets have been pouring in all week. We, along with Resource Interactive, have monitored more than 600,000 tweets about Oprah and her show this week alone. Dozens of celebrities tweeted their congratulations and opinions on Oprah’s last show, including @TheEllenShow, @ricky_martin, @MariahCarey, @RevRunWisdom, @aplusk, @DENISE_RICHARDS, @Alyssa_Milano, @michaelianblack, @kevin_nealon, @kathygriffin, and @AnnCurry.

The Oprah Show aired for most markets at 4:00 p.m. local time. During the 4:00 p.m. hour in EDT, tweets spiked up to 2,500 tweets per minute during the final moments of the show. That’s a sizable spike, but compared to the 2011 Academy Awards (11,780 tpm) or even the Chrysler ‘Imported From Detroit’ Super Bowl commercial (2,816 tpm), it’s not even close to the highest spike we’ve seen for a television event (of course The Oprah Show wasn’t aired live in all markets at the same time, so these aren’t completely equal comparisons).

A few more tidbits from the data:

  • 4,511 tweets including references to tears
  • 8,001 tweets mentioned crying
  • 5,183 tweets referred to feeling sad
  • 12 tweets used the phrase “my life is over”

But not everyone was unhappy to see the show end. Many of the most-retweeted tweets were sarcastic remarks or jokes about The Oprah Show. For example, these tweets from @funnyordie (via @robhuebel) and @DamonLindelof received 1,068 and 677 retweets, respectively.

Oprah’s main demographic is women over 35, which isn’t really Twitter’s main demographic. So some of the most popular tweets about Oprah yesterday, like the two above, had nothing to do with the content of the show. But other popular tweets were quotes from the show itself, like these:

Oprah gave out her personal email address – oprah@oprah.com – on air and 1,179 people tweeted about it. She’s probably going to get a lot of emails. Good thing she has the time to read all those now. Just don’t accidentally email Opera.

Written by Jenn D

May 26th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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