Published on Mar 10th, 2017
By Marc Berman
The week of Feb. 27th, which marked the end of the February sweeps, was atypical for two very different reasons. First, President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress aired live on Tuesday, Feb. 28th, which was not rated by Nielsen. And ABC, taking a page from yesteryear, aired When We Rise, a four-night scripted dramatic miniseries.
Also this week, and on Sunday, were the respective series premieres of the new ABC drama Time After Time and Fox comedy Making History; the time period debut of NBC’s Chicago Justice; and the season premiere installments of NBC’s Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey and Shades of Blue with Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta. So how did these shows fair on the social media front?
In a weekly ranking of Top TV programs from leading social analytics firm Shareablee, Inc. long-standing shows still dominate the top 10 such as #1 ranked The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with over 11.6 million total actions, and #2 E! News with over 6.2 million total actions. Much of E! News’ engagement was the active banter about the Oscars (which aired on Feb. 26).
New shows such as When We Rise, in the same sweeps time frame, had 120,799 total actions (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) against 67 posts. A total of 58% of that activity came from Facebook. Overall, When We Rise accounted for 41% of the ABC’s entire weekly line-up and it is the main cause of distant third-place ABC plummeting year-to-year by as much as 33% in both adults 18-49 (0.8 rating/ 3 share) and adults 18-34 (0.6/ 3), based on the Live + Same Day data from Nielsen. However, strong social engagement keeps the shows relevant with the audience.
Update your profile picture with this frame from ABC Television Network.
ABC Television Network
Tell the world what you rise for, in celebration of ABC's When We Rise.
Despite weakening ratings, the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, which concludes its eight-season run this Friday, is #3 for social rankings, with over 2.5 million total actions across 44 posts. 61% of those engagements came from Instagram.
This high level of social engagement, no doubt, was the main ingredient that kept The Vampire Dairies alive.
How is social impacting programming? Recently-introduced CW entry Riverdale, which might have been hovering towards extinction based on the traditional Nielsen ratings (#88 this week, with 1.09 million viewers), was just granted an early second season renewal. A major part of the reason for the pick-up can be attributed to the show’s social engagement, with 625,195 total actions based on 70 social posts (including 40 Tweets) during this time frame. A total of 65% of that activity was via Instagram.
Another CW scripted hour, Jane the Virgin, had lower engagement with 48,319 total actions on 18 social posts. But that is still an average of 2,600+ actions per post. This active social engagement combined with the positive press (including recognition by the Hollywood Foreign Press in season one) is what keeps this Gina Rodriguez show alive.
Another notable making the social cut: ABC’s Once Upon a Time which returned after a 3 month hiatus. The traditional ratings were lacking at just 3.03 million viewers, which is low for a Big 3 broadcast network. In social engagements, however, this fantasy drama totaled just over 1 million total actions for the week, mainly driven by Instagram, with just 11 total posts. Given ABC’s overall slippage in the traditional ratings at present (see chart at bottom), Once Upon a Time is still expected to return next season.
One network show, resonating both socially and via the Nielsen ratings, is Little Big Shots on NBC, hosted by Steve Harvey. Season two opened on March 5 with 788,106 total actions based on 62 social posts (with 95% coming from Facebook).
Based on the Nielsen ratings, Little Big Shots finished second (behind Monday’s season-opening telecast of The Voice on NBC) in total viewers (11.72 million) and #5 overall in key adults 18-49 (behind three nights of The Voice and ABC’s The Bachelor). Both The Voice and The Bachelor, of course, continue to deliver in both benchmarks, traditional Nielsen ratings and social activity, which is all the more reason why the reality competition genre should not be taken for granted. The competition format is a breeding ground for conversation.
This week, Survivor returned on CBS, celebrating Little Big Shots
March 5 at 8:00pm ·
Tickle your funny bone! Little Big Shots starts now on NBC.its 500th episode, and it shows no signs of exiting anytime soon.
The late night category is also heavily influenced by social. In late night, CBS is crowing aplenty that Late Night with Stephen Colbert is now besting The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on NBC in total viewers. But Fallon is dominating the social late night conversation. With over 1.93 million total actions on 171 posts (81% of which were on Facebook), The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon was notably ahead of Late Night with Stephen Colbert’s 527,994 total actions on 207 posts. Advertisers, who covet the millennial generation, may want to make note on just whose audience is more socially engaged.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
March 4 at 7:07pm ·
Tonight Show Music Break: Ed Sheeran performs "Shape of You"!
On cable, FX launched new Ryan Murphy dramatic anthology Feud: Bette and Joan on Sunday. FX does not release data prior to the DVR usage being factored in, so final ratings will be available in another two weeks. But based on the Shareablee analysis, the show garnered 180,023 total actions on 113 posts. Facebook accounted for 58% of the activity, followed by Instagram (30%) and Twitter (12%). Come September, don’t be too surprised to see both Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange compete at the Primetime Emmys.
As a benchmark this week, here are the weekly results via the traditional Nielsen ratings (with change versus the year-ago period in parentheses). When We Rise, of course, is to blame for ABC’s collapse, but Fox is clearly missing that social media magnet from the past, American Idol. While NBC is in talks to revive Idol next season, it is really Fox that needs it.
NBC: 7.26 million (+14), CBS: 6.07 (-21), ABC: 3.18 (-28), Fox: 2.43 (-32), CW: 1.39 (+17)
NBC: 1.5 rating/6 share (no change), CBS: 1.0/ 4 (-17), ABC: 0.8/ 3 (-33), Fox: 0.7/ 3 (-30), CW: 0.5/ 2 (+25)
NBC: 2.0/ 6 (no change), CBS: 1.4/ 5 (-22), ABC: 1.1/ 3 (-27), Fox: 0.9/ 3 (-36), CW: 0.6/ 2 (+20)
NBC: 0.9/ 5 (no change), ABC: 0.6/ 3 (-33), CBS: 0.5/ 3 (-29), Fox: 0.5/ 2 (-29), CW: 0.4/ 2 (+33)
With that clan called Kardashian returning this Sunday night on E! for a new edition of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the social boards should be abuzz with activity. The Kardashian-Jenners remain undisputed as the first family of social influencers. Like so many other series, it is social that keeps the Kardashians alive.