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True Blood Social intelligence Report

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True Blood Social intelligence Report

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The Season 4 premiere of True Blood in June was the hit that series producers had hoped for, matching the show’s highest ratings ever. Such strong numbers for the season opener of the HBO series weren’t a surprise though to anyone tracking the social media conversation leading up to, during and right after the episode. Fang fans flocked to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, HBO.com and other sites to profess their love for the show, speculate where Sookie and Eric’s relationship is heading, and revisit key events in past episodes. Networked Insights’ Social Intelligence Report: True Blood describes our analysis of the social conversation surrounding the hit season-opening episode “She’s Not There.”

The Season 4 premiere of True Blood in June was the hit that series producers had hoped for, matching the show’s highest ratings ever. Such strong numbers for the season opener of the HBO series weren’t a surprise though to anyone tracking the social media conversation leading up to, during and right after the episode. Fang fans flocked to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, HBO.com and other sites to profess their love for the show, speculate where Sookie and Eric’s relationship is heading, and revisit key events in past episodes. Networked Insights’ Social Intelligence Report: True Blood describes our analysis of the social conversation surrounding the hit season-opening episode “She’s Not There.”

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True Blood Social intelligence Report

  1. 1. True Blood Social Intelligence Report NETWORKED INSIGHTS Fueling Intelligent Brands
  2. 2. True Blood 6% Entourage Social Intelligence Report How social media raised the pulse of the season premiere Networked Insights’ Social Intelligence Reports explore topics, themes, celebrities and brands to uncover viewer trends and insights that can aid decision making by network executives and show producers. In this report, we examine social media activity 35% surrounding the season premiere of HBO’s True Blood on June 26, Game of Thrones 2011. The data for this report was gathered from May 26 through June 27, the day after the premiere. 44% True Blood Headline writers had the predictable field day when HBO’s vampire series True Blood recently delivered a boffo season premiere: “True Blood premiere ratings are bloody good” “True Blood premiere kills in ratings” “True Blood season 4 premiere sucks up a 6% increase over last year” You get the picture. But the headline that sang sweetest for the cable network and the show’s producers may well have been this one: “True Blood season 4 premiere matches ratings high.” The True Blood team was certainly hopeful about the new season of HBO’s most watched series since The Sopranos. But if they had Most Discussed HBO Series any doubts that June 26 would be an especially good Sunday night, by Global Audience a strong favorable sign would help allay the worry – the social media buzz leading up to the show was intense and extremely enthusiastic. Networked Insights analyzed the social media conversation before, during and the day after the airing of “She’s Not There,” the fourth season opener of True Blood. Our research provided insights into who is watching the show, what they care about, what they’re saying, and the channels they use to follow the action and communicate their feelings. Such information can help show network executives and show producers assess the effectiveness of promotional campaigns and maximize marketing dollars, as well as help predict a program’s success and highlight its weaknesses. It can also help brand marketers better understand a show’s audience and how it aligns with their target consumer. 2
  3. 3. The growing role of social media in a successful premiere HBO created a campaign to launch the Season 4 True Blood premiere with an interactive app and videos, along with fan interaction on Twitter and Facebook. Simply measuring impressions and conversation volume resulting from such initiatives won’t by itself tell a producer or network that the show is going to continue to attract viewers and remain a popular show. However, deeper social media analysis can identify elements of a promotional campaign that are working and how viewers reacted to the premiere. It provides a way to delve into what viewers are “...I watched the show from a most interested in, as well as topics such as main characters, recording off my DVR and even though featured actors, and the unfolding storylines. I’ve heard it many, many times, I still didn’t fast forward through the theme Our methodology for analyzing the True Blood social media song. I never, ever can either! It’s just conversation comprised four key elements: too good.” Audience definitions: We developed a list of social media sites from blogs, forums and news that most effectively capture the audience engaged in categories such as entertainment, sports, fanforum.com fashion, food and travel. Impressions: Impressions are a calculation of the number of social mentions of a product/brand that visitors to social networking sites, forums, blogs and microblogs were exposed to. They provide “Oh god. I didn’t realize they could an estimation of how social media are consumed and are a way to account for the vast majority of social media users who do not make that fairy concept anymore actually create posts. Impressions enable you to look beyond post crazier than it already was. I guess counts to gain a better understanding of a topic’s true social reach. they realized that they needed to do However, impressions are a passive measurement tool and do not something with that storyline without necessarily demonstrate engagement. As with other basic metrics, completely getting rid of it. I’m glad it is important to layer thematic insights upon impressions in order they ditched the magical fairy land to understand what drives the conversation and what actions and replaced it with something more are required. sinister.” Sentiment: Search strings defined keywords used to describe brands and products and accurately capture conversation volume. Posts were assigned positive, negative and neutral ratings in order sherdog.net to calculate the sentiment for a given keyword. Topic discovery: Advanced clustering technology extracted major sub-themes expressed in the content related to a keyword. A companion qualitative analysis reveals engagement drivers and how different sub-themes interconnect. 3
  4. 4. Engagement trends A. 5/26-5/27 – Fans discuss catching up on previous seasons, characters and C new season. B A B. 6/22-6/24 – With the premiere days away, excitement builds over the new season. C. 6/26-6/27 – Season 4 premieres; discussion 6/28 around the show is heavy the following day. Figure 1. True Blood engagement (by number of social media impressions) A look at the numbers . . . and vampire moms? True Blood discussion peaked in the days just before and the day immediately after the June 26 premiere (Figure 1). From a month ahead of the premiere to less than a week out, social media activity stayed in a fairly tight range as fans discussed past episodes, the show’s characters and the upcoming season. The conversation picked up considerably around June 22 with the premiere just days away. After a lull on an early-summer Saturday, social impressions soared again on premiere Sunday and the day after. Twitter was the largest source of conversation, capturing 43.5 percent of all discussion, fol- Site engagement lowed by Facebook with 1.4 percent (Figure 2). The high Twitter volume is understandable with a must-see TV experience such as a premiere. % Share Twitter has proven to be the communication 43.5 channel of choice for viewers to share real-time 1.4 reactions to broadcast programming. This is evident in significant Twitter volume spikes 1.3 during major sporting events, talent competition 1.1 shows such as American Idol, and programming 0.7 with live and/or dramatic conclusions like The Bachelor or The Apprentice. 0.6 0.5 Nearly three out of five viewers were women. Of particular interest, two of the top 10 sites for 0.3 True Blood engagement were “mom-focused” 0.3 sites, Babycenter.com and Thebump.com. 0.3 (Figure 2.) 4
  5. 5. Bitten by love Through the use of hierarchal topic discovery, we were able to identify four key themes emerging from the social discussion. Highly encouraging for the network and producers, the strongest theme to emerge was a very positive sentiment about the show, which was reflected in 29 percent of the social conversation. Frequent use of the word “love” to describe posters’ feelings about True Blood strongly indicates a loyal following. Another important theme leading into Season 4, capturing 28 percent of the conversation, is the relation- ship between Sookie Stackhouse, the central character in the show, and Eric Northman, a “vampire sheriff.” Posters avidly discussed the potential for love scenes involving Sookie and Eric in the new season. Conversations about Season 4 itself were the third key topic, with 27 percent of the discussion. Fans talked about having re-watched past episodes, an indicator of their dedication to the show. The remaining 16 percent of the social discussion revolved around what other programs True Blood viewers were watching. Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half of this conversation involved comparison to Twilight, another book-based vampire show. Among HBO series, Game of Thrones was most discussed by True Blood fans. Sookie was the most discussed character, nearly doubling the number of impressions of the second highest charac- ter, Eric. Sookie’s relationships with Eric and vampire Bill Compton and the attractiveness of characters, namely Eric and Sookie’s brother Jason, were the most popular topics around characters and major drivers of positive sentiment. Figure 3 5
  6. 6. Pre- and post-premiere engagement trends Premiere Figure 3. Posting trend The before and after talk Predictably, the conversations changed somewhat from ahead of the premiere to after its airing. Early discussions revolved around characters, general excitement over the show and catching up on previous seasons. Many posters talked about Sookie’s relationships with the male characters, particularly Eric. After the airing, discussion included episode recaps, general mentions of watching the show, and what viewers liked and did not like about the premiere. The Twitter conversation saw the greatest spike with the premiere, jumping 137 percent on the day of it and 245 percent the following day (Figure 3). Post count by media type Post count Twitter was the biggest source of True Blood posts (Figure 4), followed by Blogs and Fan Forums. The high Blogs levels of blog and forum activity suggest that these channels deserve a level of attention comparable to Forums that given Twitter and Facebook. News Facebook (Figure 4.) 6
  7. 7. 8,224,570 Give your show a transfusion people like this of excitement Figure 6. Sample social intelligence report The first episode of a new television series or season needs to attract an audience and affirm the beliefs held by program zealots. Through social media, broadcast- ers and brand marketers can capture awareness, which builds an audience and then inspires them to take action – whether to watch a premiere or purchase a product. Engaging fans across the social web serves as a catalyst enabling advocates to promote your brand or television show. With the added dimension of a shared viewing experience connected through digital channels, fans can now have social interactions with your show and its view- ers, everywhere. The growing supply and richness of social data provides broadcasters, producers and brand marketers with insights into consumer behavior, at a scale and speed never before seen. This social intelligence fuels optimiza- tion for all stakeholders. Marketers can leverage social data to modify campaigns. Producers can measure audience reaction and calibrate accordingly. “ I watched a preview on HBO this weekend. Weird #### going on in Broadcasters can maximize the value of a show by better fairyland...” understanding the where, when and how preferences of the audience that interacts with their content. It’s becoming clearer every day that if you want your show to succeed, you need to have social media in your blood. footballguys.com If you liked this report check out some of our other reports. Contact us Phone: 608.237.1867 Web: www.networkedinsights.com Email: info@networkedinsights.com Networked Insights was founded in 2006 by industry leaders and seasoned entrepreneurs in the fields of social media and customer intelligence. Offices in New York, Chicago and Madison WI. © Networked Insights, Inc. 2011 All Rights Reserved. 7

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