The Five Series That Made up 30% of Broadcast-TV Social Buzz Last Fall

Forget One-Hit Wonders Like the Royal Wedding: These Shows Kept You Talking

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A few weeks ago, we took a look at the 2011 TV event that blew up the biggest in terms of social-media buzz. (Hint: It wasn't the Oscars or the Super Bowl.) The data for that charticle came from Ad Age 's editorial partner Trendrr, the social-media monitoring firm that collects and analyzes social chatter for its network, brand and agency clients.

Today, we're taking a look at the top five regular, non-special-event shows -- on both broadcast and cable TV -- that captured the most social buzz last fall (from the start of September through the end of December).

Some notes and context:

  • On broadcast TV, Fox's "The X Factor" takes the top spot with an 11% "share of voice" (SOV) -- that is , 11% of all the social-TV activity monitored by Trendrr, which includes tweets, public Facebook updates and check-ins on GetGlue and Miso. Fox, in fact, had three of the top five buzziest broadcast shows last fall, with two comedies -- "Glee" and "Family Guy" -- giving it a big boost.
  • "WWE Raw" (the World Wrestling Entertainment show) on USA Network captured 7% SOV surrounding cable shows last fall, with AMC's "The Walking Dead" not far behind at 5%. Like "The X Factor," "WWE Raw" benefits from having a huge number of "hooks" to chatter about. Any given "X Factor" or "WWE Raw" episode tends to be packed with plenty of triumphs, let-downs, drama, controversies and assorted little pleasures and annoyances that motivate fans to react on social media. Both shows also have plenty of brands-within-the-brand -- the celebrity judges and wannabe celebrity contestants on "The X Factor" and the "superstars" of WWE, many of whom have sizable cult followings.
  • Social TV as a cultural phenomenon grew so much in 2011 that we felt that a full-year ranking of the buzziest shows would be kind of misleading. For instance, "The X Factor" was a bigger social-TV deal than "American Idol" in 2011, but "AI" aired at the start of the year when the total universe of viewers who were tweeting or otherwise commenting on TV was considerably smaller. "Idol" starts up again with a two-night premiere on Jan. 18 and 19 and it's likely to eclipse the social buzz "The X Factor" achieved in the fall.
  • Each of the five shows in the pie charts above do well for their respective networks, but it's worth noting once again that nobody in the TV business expects social buzz to have a strictly linear relationship to ratings . For a quick primer on how and why social buzz does and doesn't correlate with Nielsen ratings , check out this charticle we put together in October: How Social Media Ranks Fall TV's Hit Shows.

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr.

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

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