Christmas is an exciting time of year, especially for Doctor Who fans. The Doctor Who Christmas special, which played on Christmas Day, further proved the socialization of our TV viewing experience, also known as the ‘second screen.’ As mentioned in Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report, (highlights found in this blog post), we can see some key facts around this trend:
- More than 33% of Twitter users had actively Tweeted about TV-related content
- In Latin America, more than 50% of consumers say they interact with social media while watching TV
- In the Middle East/Africa region, more than 60% use social while watching TV
The Christmas special from one of my all time favorite shows, Doctor Who, proves this trend.
The Doctor, the Snowmen and the Second Screen
Doctor Who first came to British screens on November 23, 1963 and shares the adventures of a Time Lord (a time traveling, humanoid alien, known as the Doctor) who captures the hearts and minds of its audience to this day.
Christmas specials of our most loved and anticipated shows are tied to our subconscious like many of the traditions and images of Christmas, invoking a rush of warmth and anticipation for the day. It is therefore of no surprise that the Doctor Who Christmas special, named The Snowmen, produced a flood of social media conversation, with over 600,000 mentions, both during and in anticipation of the episode.
A look at topic trends above demonstrates that as expected, the peak of conversation occurred as the episode aired both in the UK and the US on the 25th of December. So as we all curled up on our sofas basking in the comfort of this much anticipated episode, we shared our thoughts and insights.
Social media conversations discussed the new companion, Clara, the loss of the old, Amy and Rory and shared our near giddy anticipation of the upcoming season to be aired in April of next year. We also checked in using popular social entertainment apps like #GetGlue, highlighted much earlier this year.
The audience’s verdict can immediately be seen with positive conversation at 71%, sentiment analysis below, and a conversation cloud (above) peppered with terms such as, awesome, cool, best, good and love.
Times They Are a-Changin’
As demonstrated in the analysis above, social media can indicate the success and popularity of a show, with engaged fans commenting and providing insights into their reactions. It is therefore no surprise that Sci-Fi shows, which have traditionally had very small vocal fanbases with low ratings (to which Doctor who is one of the exceptions), are engaging their fans more than ever before.
A prime example of this is from the producers of the Battlestar Galactica. The Facebook fan page of the now-concluded series has maintained its relationship with its fans and has been able to promote new shows from the network. And while the SyFy channel has been criticized in the past for axing shows with die-hard fans it seems as if it is now trying to engage advocates to promote these shows as well as gauge their reception.
As the Nielsen report initially reported, we have changed the way in which we watch TV, our viewing experience has socialized, and in turn, the way in which television networks create, promote and cancel shows is evolving and will continue to do so.