Fall TV Sentiment Survey Finds Viewer Attitudes Differ From Ratings

"The Michael J. Fox Show" Tops "The Crazy Ones" in Viewer Sentiment, "Sons of Anarchy" Liked More by Women

Oct 29, 2013, 09:30 ET from STRATA

CHICAGO, Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey from STRATA, a media buying and selling software company, revealed that audience sentiment does not always align with traditional viewership and ratings data. As networks face more competition from cable channels and non-traditional mediums such as Netflix and Hulu, the fight to retain and grow an increasingly fragmented audience is heating up.  The survey also found that networks face brand awareness challenges and surprising demographic data about the viewing habits of women.

Ratings vs. Sentiment
Ratings have long been used as a key measurement tool, guiding advertisers on where to spend their ad dollars. The findings of the Fall TV Sentiment Survey contrast ratings with viewership sentiment. For example, while 13.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the premiere of CBS's new program "The Millers," only 3% of survey respondents indicated that it was their favorite new show. NBC's "The Blacklist" was most popular with survey respondents, with 15% saying it was their favorite although fewer viewers tuned in to watch its premiere (12.6 million) as compared to "The Millers."

TV executives closely watched the September 29th premieres of the "The Michael J. Fox Show" and "The Crazy Ones" as they battled for primetime viewers. That evening "The Crazy Ones" (15.6 million viewers) overshadowed "The Michael J. Fox Show" (7.5 million viewers), but 11% of survey respondents favored "The Michael J. Fox Show" over the 4% who chose "The Crazy Ones" as their favorite new show. When asked to pick their overall favorite show, which included new and already established shows, not a single person polled said "The Crazy Ones" was their favorite show so far this season. That spot belongs to "The Big Bang Theory," which received 13% of the vote.

Network Brand Awareness Challenges
STRATA's Fall TV Sentiment Survey also found that some networks and cable channels are facing brand awareness challenges. Only 76% of "NCIS" fans, 73% of "The Big Bang Theory" fans, and 63% of "How I Met Your Mother" fans were able to properly identify these as CBS shows. Seventy-seven percent of "Scandal" fans and only 56% of "Modern Family" fans properly identified ABC as the host for new their episodes, whereas 89% of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." fans accurately chose ABC. FX led the group with viewer recognition as 94% of "Sons of Anarchy" fans identified it as an FX show. 

CBS and NBC were tied as the networks with the best new programming; ABC came in third, FOX in fourth and AMC in fifth.

"The sentiment survey indicates that ratings are not telling the full story. It is important for advertisers to look beyond ratings and consider sentiment and viewing habits. Advertisers might want to consider sentiment just like they take demographic data into consideration in ad planning and buying," said Mike McHugh, Vice President of STRATA.

Demographic Data
The survey also yielded some interesting demographic data and a surprising gap in viewing habits among men and women. Women don't seem to mind blood or zombies as half of "The Walking Dead" fans were women. "Sons of Anarchy" fans were predominantly female at 59%. Women are also more likely to watch a series premiere based on a friend's suggestion (60%) compared to men (40%), while men were more likely to watch a series premiere for social reasons, such as office place conversations. Of those that cited social reasons as a motivation to watch a series premiere, 64% were men compared to 36% women.

Survey Methodology
STRATA conducted a national online survey of 533 TV watchers age 18 or older between October 17-18, 2013. The respondents were 51.6% female and 48.4% male.

STRATA is the only system provider that connects both media buyers and sellers. The custom solutions supplied by STRATA empower clients to sell and efficiently purchase all media types including cable, broadcast, newspaper, radio, outdoor and digital advertising mediums.  On average, over $50 Billion in advertising dollars flow through STRATA systems per year.   

As the system of choice for over 1,000 agencies nationally, STRATA provides media technology that enables organizations to lead rather than react to industry developments.  By transforming the way advertisements are placed and tracked, STRATA adds a new level of transparency to campaigns that is necessary in the ever-evolving media world.