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, 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 BloodSocial Intelligence Report NETWORKED INSIGHTS Fueling Intelligent Brands
  2. 2. True Blood 6% EntourageSocial Intelligence ReportHow social media raised the pulse of the season premiereNetworked Insights’ Social Intelligence Reports explore topics,themes, celebrities and brands to uncover viewer trends andinsights that can aid decision making by network executives andshow producers. In this report, we examine social media activity 35%surrounding the season premiere of HBO’s True Blood on June 26, Game of Thrones2011. The data for this report was gathered from May 26 throughJune 27, the day after the premiere. 44% True BloodHeadline writers had the predictable field day when HBO’svampire series True Blood recently delivered a boffo seasonpremiere:“True Blood premiere ratings are bloody good”“True Blood premiere kills in ratings”“True Blood season 4 premiere sucks up a 6% increase overlast year”You get the picture. But the headline that sang sweetest for thecable network and the show’s producers may well have been thisone: “True Blood season 4 premiere matches ratings high.”The True Blood team was certainly hopeful about the new seasonof HBO’s most watched series since The Sopranos. But if they had Most Discussed HBO Seriesany doubts that June 26 would be an especially good Sunday night, by Global Audiencea strong favorable sign would help allay the worry – the socialmedia buzz leading up to the show was intense and extremelyenthusiastic.Networked Insights analyzed the social media conversation before,during and the day after the airing of “She’s Not There,” the fourthseason opener of True Blood. Our research provided insights intowho is watching the show, what they care about, what they’resaying, and the channels they use to follow the action andcommunicate their feelings.Such information can help show network executives and showproducers assess the effectiveness of promotional campaigns andmaximize marketing dollars, as well as help predict a program’ssuccess and highlight its weaknesses. It can also help brandmarketers better understand a show’s audience and how it alignswith their target consumer. 2
  3. 3. The growing role of social media ina successful premiereHBO created a campaign to launch the Season 4 True Bloodpremiere with an interactive app and videos, along with faninteraction on Twitter and Facebook. Simply measuringimpressions and conversation volume resulting from suchinitiatives won’t by itself tell a producer or network that the showis going to continue to attract viewers and remain a popular show.However, deeper social media analysis can identify elements of apromotional campaign that are working and how viewers reactedto the premiere. It provides a way to delve into what viewers are “...I watched the show from amost interested in, as well as topics such as main characters, recording off my DVR and even thoughfeatured actors, and the unfolding storylines. I’ve heard it many, many times, I still didn’t fast forward through the themeOur methodology for analyzing the True Blood social media song. I never, ever can either! It’s justconversation comprised four key elements: too good.”Audience definitions: We developed a list of social media sitesfrom blogs, forums and news that most effectively capture theaudience engaged in categories such as entertainment, sports, fanforum.comfashion, food and travel.Impressions: Impressions are a calculation of the number of socialmentions of a product/brand that visitors to social networkingsites, forums, blogs and microblogs were exposed to. They provide “Oh god. I didn’t realize they couldan estimation of how social media are consumed and are a wayto account for the vast majority of social media users who do not make that fairy concept anymoreactually create posts. Impressions enable you to look beyond post crazier than it already was. I guesscounts to gain a better understanding of a topic’s true social reach. they realized that they needed to doHowever, impressions are a passive measurement tool and do not something with that storyline withoutnecessarily demonstrate engagement. As with other basic metrics, completely getting rid of it. I’m gladit is important to layer thematic insights upon impressions in order they ditched the magical fairy landto understand what drives the conversation and what actions and replaced it with something moreare required. sinister.”Sentiment: Search strings defined keywords used to describebrands and products and accurately capture conversation volume.Posts were assigned positive, negative and neutral ratings in order sherdog.netto calculate the sentiment for a given keyword.Topic discovery: Advanced clustering technology extracted majorsub-themes expressed in the content related to a keyword. Acompanion qualitative analysis reveals engagement drivers andhow 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, and 0.3 (Figure 2.) 4
  5. 5. Bitten by loveThrough the use of hierarchal topic discovery, we wereable to identify four key themes emerging from the socialdiscussion. Highly encouraging for the network andproducers, the strongest theme to emerge was a verypositive sentiment about the show, which was reflected in29 percent of the social conversation. Frequent use of theword “love” to describe posters’ feelings about True Bloodstrongly 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 inthe show, and Eric Northman, a “vampire sheriff.” Postersavidly discussed the potential for love scenes involvingSookie and Eric in the new season.Conversations about Season 4 itself were the third keytopic, with 27 percent of the discussion. Fans talked abouthaving re-watched past episodes, an indicator of theirdedication to the show.The remaining 16 percent of the social discussion revolvedaround what other programs True Blood viewers werewatching. Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half of thisconversation involved comparison to Twilight, anotherbook-based vampire show. Among HBO series, Game ofThrones was most discussed by True Blood fans.Sookie was the most discussed character, nearly doublingthe number of impressions of the second highest charac-ter, Eric. Sookie’s relationships with Eric and vampire BillCompton and the attractiveness of characters, namely Ericand Sookie’s brother Jason, were the most popular topicsaround characters and major drivers of positive sentiment. Figure 3 5
  6. 6. Pre- and post-premiere engagement trends PremiereFigure 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. 8,224,570Give your show a transfusion people like thisof excitement Figure 6. Sample social intelligence reportThe first episode of a new television series or seasonneeds to attract an audience and affirm the beliefs heldby program zealots. Through social media, broadcast-ers and brand marketers can capture awareness, whichbuilds 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 catalystenabling advocates to promote your brand or televisionshow. With the added dimension of a shared viewingexperience connected through digital channels, fans cannow have social interactions with your show and its view-ers, everywhere.The growing supply and richness of social data providesbroadcasters, producers and brand marketers withinsights into consumer behavior, at a scale and speednever before seen. This social intelligence fuels optimiza-tion for all stakeholders. Marketers can leverage socialdata to modify campaigns. Producers can measureaudience reaction and calibrate accordingly. “ I watched a preview on HBO this weekend. Weird #### going on inBroadcasters can maximize the value of a show by better fairyland...”understanding the where, when and how preferencesof the audience that interacts with their content. It’sbecoming clearer every day that if you want your show tosucceed, you need to have social media in your blood. footballguys.comIf you liked this report check out some of our other reports.Contact usPhone: 608.237.1867Web: www.networkedinsights.comEmail: info@networkedinsights.comNetworked Insights was founded in 2006 by industryleaders and seasoned entrepreneurs in the fields ofsocial media and customer intelligence. Offices in NewYork, Chicago and Madison WI. © Networked Insights, Inc. 2011 All Rights Reserved. 7