You Talked About These New TV Shows, but Did You Watch? Mostly, Yes

But 'Dads' Ranked Higher in Word of Mouth Than Ratings

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In a series of September and October posts (the most recent one right here), Ad Age has been taking a broad view of the "social buzz" surrounding the fall TV season's new shows. We worked with the Keller Fay Group, a market-research firm that specializes in tracking "real world" conversations -- not just what you see on Twitter and Facebook -- to generate the chart you see here. As promised, we're wrapping up by checking the correlation between word-of-mouth buzz and ratings.

The WOM data is based on interviews with a cross-section of 4,343 Americans ages 13-69 who were interviewed (from Sept. 23-Oct. 13, divided across the three weekly studies we published in preceding weeks) about 29 new high-profile TV shows that premiered in September or October. The ratings column draws from Nielsen's Live+7 data for the same period as the word of mouth survey.


The key takeaways:

• Eight of the top 10 shows in word of mouth were among the 10 most popular new shows (i.e., they were in the top 1/3rd among the 29 new shows we tracked).

• But Fox's "Dads," arguably fall TV's most controversial new sitcom, turned out to be a show that people wanted to talk about (and complain about) whether they were tuning in or not. That said, even though "Dads" has had less than blockbuster ratings, Fox just gave the show a full-season pick-up, in part because it does well with young males -- and, indeed, Keller Fay's research showed it indexing higher with men vs. women.

• The other show that didn't making our ratings cut but did do well in word of mouth, ABC's "Once Upon a Time" spin-off "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland," premiered only in the last week of our study's interviewing window, so it's harder to say how its ratings will average out than for shows that began sooner.

• ABC's "Super Fun Night" was eighth on this ratings chart, meanwhile, but well out of Keller Fay's top 10 in word of mouth. The show didn't exactly get great reviews, so maybe its fans aren't bragging.

• Our Top 10 by WOM was pretty consistent from the inception of this project, with only minor shifts from week to week, which suggests that there was a sort of "wisdom of the crowds" thing going on from the start.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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