Rentrak and ListenFirst Want to Measure TV Show Stickiness

Research firms Rentrak and ListenFirst Media are collaborating on a new data set designed to help advertisers identify TV shows that generate consistent viewing and high social engagement. While these programs may not always have the highest ratings, they may have some of the most impassioned fans and may be a better target for advertisers. The research combines Rentrak’s viewership data from set-top boxes with ListenFirst’s data collected from blogs, social media platforms and other sources. The companies presented the research at an Advertising Research Foundation event in New York.

tvremoteAccording to The Wall Street Journal, “Here’s how it works: Rentrak looked at viewership patterns for 40,000 different shows from the fourth quarter of last year and then tracked the average percentage of each broadcast that people watched. The study focused on live TV viewing only.”

The model suggests that viewers have more interest in a specific show when they do not flip through other channels as much, and are therefore more likely to be receptive to advertisements that air during that broadcast.

ListenFirst then examined which shows generated the most chatter on blogs, social media, Wikipedia and other digital sources during the same time. The resulting data sets were then plotted into four quadrants.

“For example, some shows are ‘sticky’ in terms of their consistent viewership patterns, but score low in terms of digital engagement,” notes WSJ. “Some generate lots of online chatter but have less consistent viewing. It was the shows that garner the most consistent TV audience and spark the most digital conversation that ListenFirst and Rentrak pegged as ‘hidden gems’ to advertisers, said Michael Vinson, Rentrak’s executive vice president of statistical operations and data science. They call this the ‘sticking and clicking’ quadrant.”

Traditional ratings are not necessarily a part of the equation. Fully engaged fans, however, could be more likely to pay attention to advertising — and a more accurate measurement of that specific fan base should likely be important to advertisers.

“What we found is that it’s a very mixed bag and very show-by-show,” said Jason Klein, co-founder of ListenFirst. “But we think this conversation can really open up advertisers’ and agencies’ eyes to alternatives to standard measurement and tracking the impact of TV programming.”