Image: Suits, USA Network. Written by Parrot Analytics Regional Director for Latin America, Alejandro Rojas.
In the era of abundance of content where more TV shows are competing for limited attention, it is becoming crucial to stay relevant for audiences.
This year we have seen some examples of how content creators are choosing to address themes that resonate with audiences.
One strategy is to observe trends in adjacent areas, not necessarily entertainment, that may have an impact on pop culture: For example, take a look at the completed missions by SpaceX during the last 3 years and the expectation for 2018 at the beginning of the year:
|Number of Completed Missions by Space X||YoY Growth|
Table 1. Chronology of completed missions by Space X
A quick glance tells it all: “space” as a theme is gaining traction given the explosive growth observed in 2017 and expected in 2018.
The explosive growth of space-themed TV
This growth permeated to the TV industry as demonstrated by the amount of new productions about space premiering between the end of last year and the beginning of this year. Monthly average demand for content related to space has quadrupled from January 2017 to April 2018.
Fig. 1. Demand for Space Related Content in the US
Another strategy is to look at the prevailing themes of the local audiences that are being targeted.
Local audiences reveal preferences for political drama in Brazil
For example, in Brazil the “Lava Jato” case (Operation Car Wash) created political turmoil that extended well into this year, an electoral year in Brazil where political tensions were already expected to be high.
This expectation has also influenced the TV content that is being made available. Since early 2018, Brazilians have increased their demand for shows within the “Political Drama” genre, demand that peaked in late March with the premiere of O Mecanismo, a Netflix original series based on the Lava Jato case. Since this premiere, monthly average demand for this genre has remained within a range that is two to four times as high as the range seen in 2017.
Fig. 2. Demand for Political Drama Content in Brazil
A third strategy is banking on external events that can lead audiences to go after your content.
Banking on external events
One example of an “externality effect” was observed during the royal wedding of Meghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex. With the large amount of attention afforded to this event around the world, global audiences flocked to content related to it.
Meghan’s presence in Suits led to a 60% global increase in demand during the day of the wedding on May 19, 2018. Similarly, the same day, global demand for The Crown, a Netflix original series about British Royalty, jumped 46%.
Fig. 3. Global demand for Suits and The Crown in May 2018
The question of staying relevant for audiences is gaining significance as TV industry players reassess the value that original content brings to their business.
And as major content IP owners like Disney move to target consumers directly, the rest of the industry is on a quest to find the right balance between investing in and strengthening distribution, or increasing original content production.
Achieving the right balance will require a deeper and broader understanding of what makes audiences tick and new metrics and analytics to foresee market dynamics, ahead of the competition.