#EverySimpsonsEver: Marathon TV Viewing A Social Media Winner For Networks
By Asher Feldman
Before the emergence of Netflix it might have seemed a silly concept — show every episode ever of a 20-plus-season TV show without breaks on a broadcast cable network.But as we know now, in the pervasive binge-obsessed TV culture, FXX’s 552-episode #EverySimpsonsEver
marathon was an unqualified success for the upstart network (http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/09/03/simpsons-marathon-ratings-fxx/
). And we need look no further than the huge social media impact of the marathon — or any other big marathon event — to verify just how useful binge encouragement has become as a tool for social endorsement of any network.
social listening and analysis tools calculated that the media value created by the discussion of the #EverySimpsonsEver
hashtag and concept around the web was the equivalent of more than $5 million of ad spend or PR push. For a network just celebrating its one year anniversary on Sept. 2, the pure and long lasting impact of The Simpsons
marathon can’t be overstated.
In fact, according to General Sentiment, average daily web mentions of FXX Network grew more than 389 percent when comparing the days of the marathon as compared to the month preceding the binge. That’s unprecedented growth reflected in blogs, news websites, forums, comment sections, Facebook, Twitter and more.
And it’s not just a pure volume increase in chatter, the tonality of those conversations mentioning FXX, despite some initial consternation over the cropping of The Simpsons episodes, saw an average +68 web sentiment as compared to a +49 web sentiment in the preceding month (measured -100 to +100).
An increase in chatter, an undeniable change in tonality of conversations, and millions of dollars created in media value during a marathon clearly represents a win for FXX, which plans to continue airing episodes of the multi-generational hit in marathon-style syndication blocks. But FXX’s move in this direction isn’t a new concept, and the success of marathon binge watching events has been replicated since it became clear that binge watching anything inspires huge social reaction, whether via Netflix or on TV.
Take the second season of House of Cards via Netflix. The first week after the Valentine’s Day premiere earned Netflix more than $7.7 million in media exposure equivalence and a 10 percent increase in overall web sentiment about the video platform as binge watchers from around the web attacked the political thriller.
Cable networks have taken to bringing their biggest show back in the offseason by getting binge watching enthusiasts to do it all over again, and have seen similar results. A July 4th weekend Walking Dead
marathon brought AMC a 20 percent bump in web sentiment, while encouraging the largest overall social interaction with the show since it had gone off air at the end of March.
The growing trend spans all types of programming and channels, for instance ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, a perennial social media force, used a daylong marathon in June to amp up the social velocity of their season premiere.
And why wouldn’t any network bring a binge watching inspired marathon to their airwaves, when a positive social media impact is so clearly in the cards for networks that fit the needs of today’s TV viewer.