Through its We Make Fans platform, Turner celebrates content consumers of the highest order: People who don’t just watch a show or follow a sports team but weave their favorite things into the fabric of their routines.
And it turns out this isn’t just lip service to fandom. They did the research.
Over an 18-month period, Turner data specialists studied 10,000 people to identify the behavior patterns that distinguish true fans from more passive viewers. One fundamental finding: Eight out of 10 people are a fan of at least one thing.
As a global entertainment, sports, and news company with more than a dozen well-known brands, Turner has a vested interest in winning over hearts and minds. But the company’s leadership in understanding fans through data holds implications for the rapidly transforming media industry.
The study’s findings were certainly of great interest to Donna Speciale. As president of ad sales for Turner, she takes every opportunity to equip herself with data points craved by metrics-minded marketers.
After determining a base level of fandom, „We dove even deeper,“ Speciale said. „We uncovered that the more avid a fan is, the more engaged they are. Avidity is not only about doing more and spending more, but also getting more.“
The things that advertisers get more of from fans are quantifiable. They include spikes in time spent watching content compared against channel-surfing, noncommittal viewers. And fans are also completists: They come back for more, which makes them reachable with marketing messages applied in phases.
Speciale cited „Conan,“ on TBS, as an example. „That’s a mega iconic brand with a broad fan base who follows the show on all screens,“ she said. „And when we measure ad effectiveness for ‚Conan‘ sponsorships, we see greater lifts in areas like advertiser opinion, awareness, and purchase intent when compared to the average viewer.“
But even though content-consumption patterns can be tracked on a spreadsheet, the way content gets created hasn’t fundamentally changed. New TV series still originate in the imaginations of creators. Creators still hope fans will want to immerse themselves in the world they’ve dreamed up. And athletes still push themselves to excel, while hoping for the fan support that rallies them when they tire.
„Data helps us think and target smarter, but without great content we will fall flat,“ Speciale said. „So it’s not about metrics making a fan love a show more. It’s about metrics powering us with the right guidance to better cultivate, identify, support, and mobilize fans.“
Take Joshua Galang, a 21-year-old computer-science major at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Massachusetts. Galang’s admiration for the TBS animated series „Final Space“ wasn’t dictated to him by an algorithm. Drawn to science fiction since childhood, he discovered early promotion for the show — soon to enter its second season — on YouTube.
Galang was coaxed along from sampling the show into full-on fandom by two things. First, while episodes of many animated shows are self-contained, „Final Space“ creator Olan Rogers adopted a serialized storytelling style Galang enjoys.
The second factor was that Galang came to feel that the makers of the show were only a social-media comment away.
„The cast and crew is so easy to connect with,“ said Galang, recalling an online exchange he had about 3D modeling with a „Final Space“ art director. „It shows that they appreciate the fans as much as we appreciate them. It was that personal connection that made me realize I was far more invested than I was with other TV shows.“
And Galang isn’t just invested in the show — he’s scheduled to be in it. Thanks to a fan contest he entered through the „Final Space“ augmented-reality app, Galang flew to Los Angeles where he had the chance to help create a new character, then record the voice for it.
Remember those eight out of 10 people shown to be a fan of at least one thing? Speciale would like to find even the two who aren’t and send them on a journey that resembles Galang’s.
„Looking ahead, 2019 will be the year of the ultimate fan experience,“ she said. „And like always, that starts with content that sticks and content that makes sense for the environment — and is consistently entertaining and engaging.“
This post is sponsored by Turner.
Source: Business insider