Attracting Fans Across Multiple Programs: Audience Insights from CBS

CBS, ranking this year as the highest grossing viewership for syndicated broadcasting keeps raking in their fans’ interest with their plot twists on major shows. What continually attracts viewers to some of their top programming, and what other interests and behaviors are associated with these viewers? Social insights provide an outlet to quantify and interpret viewer behavior on a mass index, while acting as the largest unbiased source of consumer opinion in the world.
We know that programming executives and strategic brand marketers are interested in analyzing data trends, traffic and volume throughout social media in an effort to utilize this information to better target their audiences, create leads and reach a wider demographic. In an effort to further understand more about CBS’s fan base and key viewership, we decided to take a closer look at two of the programs’ most popular shows, NCIS and The Big Bang Theory.
We began our search by pulling data on basic metrics of volume, demographics and geography.  Starting with The Big Bang Theory, the widely popular sitcom has generated just over 180k tweets on social after their 2015 fall premiere, with 46% of posts consisting of positive feedback from fans.
When first analyzing the data on social, we see that 52% of the discussion on TBBT is being generated by females, with 41% of all voices reporting their age to be 35 or older.
Additionally, though not surprisingly, the traffic on Twitter and Facebook was highest before and during weekly episodes, with the largest spikes in the data occurring on Thursdays at 8PM. We wanted to understand more about why users were interested and how audiences compared across the channel. So, we took another look at the data.
To widen our scope on CBS’s audience, we took to Crimson’s platform to take a closer look at another show, CBS’s popular drama, NCIS. While TTBT clearly drives the most conversation on Thursdays, NCIS episodes air on Tuesdays, and their traffic peaks accordingly. While the weekly volume of the two shows differ from one another, their demographics remain similar. Similar to TTBT’s demographic results, 67% of NCIS’s reported gender volume was also primarily female, with 64% of posts reporting their age as 35 or older. A suggestion for CBS would be to take advantage of the similar demographics, and advertise TBBT during NCIS showings, and vice versa.
From the results pulled from our platform, we can also see that although the numbers may initially appear similar, there is a discrepancy between the two audiences, with a wider range of ages discussing TBBT, whereas the age group discussing NCIS appears more limited to those 35 and above.
Furthermore, when comparing various multimedia volume, while volume trends on Twitter and Facebook remained consistent between the two shows over time, while in contrast, on Tumblr, TBBT drove much more conversation than NCIS. In fact, with the infamous December 17th episode, TBBT drove more post in a two-day period with a whopping 122.3k mentions from December 16th to 17th than NCIS’s collective 79k posts since September 1st 2015.
NCIS: NCIS-Tumblr-Traffic
Honing in on each shows’ geographic traffic, we can see that even though NCIS and TBBT are both creating the biggest buzz within the United States, state by state, their numbers differ. Using our insights platform to get a better sense of conversation based on location, we can see that although both NCIS and TTBT have high amounts of conversation happening in California, New York and Texas, the rest of their statistics don’t seem to match up as well. Virginia is a high fourth on the list of states talking about NCIS with 2.6k posts, but a mere #15 in the list of states talking about TBBT with 754 posts. The interest in Virginia for NCIS is even more visible when we drill the data by capita.
By state: 
By capita: NCIS-per-capita-geography
With all these differences, in time, age, and location, are there any similarities in the data? What similarities can be used by CBS to better connect with their viewers? How can CBS’ programming team effectively target strategies for viewers that both love NCIS and TBBT? Although we can see that the audiences for CBS’s programming are generally within the same demographic, they might have different interests or affinities by program.
By further analyzing the data we were able to confirm that while each show’s’ fan base has separate Affinities, such as TBBT’s audience producing more volume on topics such as Game of Thrones, and noise on characters such as Lara Croft from the video game Tomb Raider, we can see how the two separate audiences share a mutual level of interest in Science and Technology. The Affinities section of our platform can tell us what areas your brand has an advantage in over competitors, where we overlap with competitors, and which segments are strongest within your brand.
These mutually shared Affinities can give us a better profile of the “who” is in regards to customers,  empowering new market strategies, including creative conversation, and as a competitive benchmarks regarding competitors.
From this particular data pull, we can see how the Science and Technology affinity interest holds true to both TBBT and NCIS, with a huge spike in posts resulting from TBBT incorporating Star Wars in it’s December 17th episode, proving how successful that segment was.
With a wide range of their fanbases holding a strong interest in Science and Technology, CBS has the opportunity to capitalize on these insights in an effort to understand the who, what, where and when behind their audience’s interests within the network from social insights. Using social analytics, we can see how CBS could also target other sci-fi releases simultaneously, in strategizing for future plot lines, much like was done with Star Wars (which resonated so successfully). Brand managers, digital strategists and programming directors alike would find this information invaluable in continuing effective marketing efforts, keeping audience ratings up, as well as positive conversation flowing on social.
For a deeper analysis on how brands can utilize social analytics strategically, we invite you to check out our Webinar on Forrester and NBC.

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