Filed Under: Buzz & Viewership Diverge

Is social media really an effective promotional tool for TV? Maybe not, reveals a new study by Optimedia US and covered in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. It found that the top 5 new shows in terms of online buzz (buzz based on Twitter activity, Google search volume, ‘likes’ on Facebook, press mentions, and Klout score) didn’t even come close in terms of viewership. The hype surrounding the most-buzzed about top 5—X-Factor, Playboy Club (canceled), New Girl, Whitney, and Charlie’s Angels (canceled) —has proved to have a negative relationship with premiere audience rank. Maybe because a lot of those tweets and press are not-so-positive in their content?

In contrast, some shows with low levels of online buzz, such as CBS’s comedy 2 Broke Girls and its mystery series Unforgettable, ranked highest in viewership, despite their lack of social media popularity.

The implications? Social metrics are proving to not be the primary factor in predicting TV hits. Online buzz may effectively gauge the success of a great marketing team, but not the success of the program itself. RHowever, social media is widely used by younger age groups, among which shows like X-Factor and New Girl ranked relatively well. The buzz/audience study will continue throughout the season to see if the pattern holds.