TV’s Fall Premiere Wrap Up

Published on Dec 11th, 2014

View Cynopsis exclusive release of TV's Fall premiere rankings.

Fall premieres have historically been one of the most anticipated TV seasons with a fresh new wave of social campaigns vying for audience attention. This season was the most social on record, with audience engagement up 109% across broadcast and cable compared to Fall 2013. TV shows generated 1.8B actions from audiences across social platforms, and TV now accounts for nearly one-third of all shares and comments on Facebook.

Instagram was a highlight this season with a 167% growth. This season, 28% of shows post regularly on their Instagram accounts compared with only 19% last year. Those posting regularly on Instagram drove 39% of their engagement from the platform.

The Stand Outs

In its fifth season, The Walking Dead shattered ratings records clocking in the largest live viewership of any cable show—ever—during its season premiere. On social, the show’s strategy has paid off as The Walking Dead has staked its claim in the number one spot since airing on October 12, with posts featuring the polarizing, yet beloved character, Carol, capturing some the highest levels of engagement. The series is also the category leader on Twitter, raking in close to 2 million actions on the platform since the beginning of September.

The show earned 22% share of voice for all returning cable shows, with engagement up 63% since last fall.





Sons of Anarchy has been a true standout in its #FinalRide, capturing 12% of all actions among the Top Ten Cable Shows. The show grew in social engagement by 81% compared to last season, with amplification (shares and retweets) at 20 times more than the average cable show. Social engagement for the highly acclaimed series was up 31% for the show’s final episode on December 9, compared to December 2 when it aired an extended episode.

TOP TEN U.S. CABLE PROGRAMS, FALL 2014



TOP TEN U.S. BROADCAST PROGRAMS, FALL 2014



New Shows

Gotham is this season’s superhero, leading the Top Ten ranking for new U.S. programs every week since the show debuted on September 22. Among all new premieres, the show has captured more than 25% of total actions across social media and 11x more amplification (shares and retweets) than the average new show between September-November. In its debut season, the Batman prequel has earned more social engagement than shows like Modern Family , with 1.8M actions, and Law & Order SVU , with 3.9M actions total.

Being superhuman is Fall’s hottest trend as The Flash becomes a social ratings hit. The show has 7x more actions per post on Facebook than the average new show. Teasers for a crossover event with Arrow drove a 52% growth in social engagement the week of November 24, driven by a 49% increase in Facebook engagement and a 191% spike on Instagram. Not surprisingly, the show’s crossover event with Arrow delivered the highest ratings for The Flash since its second week on air. The show’s social engagement has crept up each week, growing 72% across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, guiding it to the number 2 spot in our Top Ten ranking for new fall programs.

TOP TEN NEW U.S. PROGRAMS, FALL 2014



Which show lags behind?

While it earned more than 3.5 million social actions when it premiered on October 8, American Horror Story: Freak Show has been declining steadily each week, dropping 82% in social engagement in November compared to its season opener. Despite this, the show still has some of the highest engagement among all broadcast and cable shows thanks to the show’s visually captivating tune-in promotions, which garnered some of the highest levels of engagement across the cable category.





Perhaps American Horror Story can take a page from The Walking Dead ’s social strategy by offering their audiences more of the personalities they love, instead of consistently featuring their murderous and slightly less sympathetic characters. This could help boost the show’s social engagement during the rest of this fall season.

A Social Prediction

If a show’s social performance is an indication of how well it resonates with viewing audiences, then we predict these two shows will struggle to survive beyond the end of this current season.

Resurrection falls flat with social audiences, amassing only 587k fans on Facebook in its second season. Compare that with Arrow , also in its second season, with more than 6 million fans on the platform. Unique engaged audience on Facebook is at 400K, indicating that the show is not getting much traction beyond its relatively small fan base.

The McCarthys has struggled to resonate with audiences, with the show’s fan base at a mere 36K across all social channels. Between October and November, engagement on Facebook was flat, but declined on Twitter and Instagram by 29% and 45%, respectively, illustrating waning audience interest. Social engagement has been on par with Selfie and Manhattan Love Story , two shows that have already been canceled this season.

More on Social TV

For a look at the Top Ten Shows across broadcast, cable, and streaming this Fall season, download the Shareablee Social Scorecard: TV Ratings . Also, deep dive into the Shareablee State of Social TV , with insights on social developments in the industry this past year.

i The total actions metric includes post-level likes, shares, favorites, retweets and comments.
ii % actions metric notes the portion of actions (likes, shares, favorites, retweets and comments) attributable to a platform.
iii Unique engaged audience metric references the number of people who engaged with the brand on Facebook.
iv Actions per post metric notes the average number of actions garnered by a property’s page.

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