Week 1 in Review – The Hayley Project
It’s been about one week since the first episode of The Hayley Project came out (10/6/08). We currently have about 3,000 views in aggregate across the trailer and the three episodes as of yesterday (10/11). Not bad. I consider us to be in a “soft” launch phase as we try to reach our broader audience.
A few key findings:
- We are starting to see some adoption among LG15 and Redearth88 fans. We are showing up on the daily LG15 and related-series news blog LG15 Today regularly now, which is fantastic. I’m not sure what percent of our total viewership these fans make up, but we’re happy to see them stick with us in the early going. Hopefully, we can reach more of these viewers, as we believe our series will resonate with those fans
- I’m not going to release all our demographic stats, since our sample size is too small to be significant. However, our biggest segments are 18-24 and 25-34. Also, one tidbit of data that is encouraging is that we’re seeing a highly-skewed female base among 13-17 year olds (>90%)
- TubeMogul, Google analytics, and YouTube Insights are all fantastic tools to understand how a series is performing and trending
Below are additional thoughts and early lessons learned:
- For the time being, we’ve decided to primarily push youtube as our distribution channel. At first, we had a blip.tv player on our branded site, but I soon realized that this was cannibalizing our numbers. Lesson learned is since we’re small, it’s best for us to get our youtube numbers up first rather than split our views across sites. This doesn’t mean we’re not distributing across all sites. It just means that we’re going to use youtube’s player for now
- Thumbnails matter A LOT. Our MetaCafe views numbers didn’t make any sense until I saw how they processed and created our thumbnails. The two episodes that are actually getting views are the ones where the thumbnails were clear pictures of Hayley facing the camera. Ep 1 was over 200 views, and Ep 3 is over 100. Ep 2 and the trailer are below 10 views. Drastic performance difference based solely on thumbnails.
- Never underestimate the impact of blogs. I had inadvertently made a comment in a previous post, where I said, “Does The Hayley Project live under the umbrella of serials where a “cute girl video blogs”? Yes, it does. But our girl is better. “ Now when I said that, I didn’t mean anything by it. I even put that little smirk/smiley face at the end. Well, it turns out that some LG15 fans took exception to my claims (as this comment was publicized on the LG15 Today blog) and it created a quick little backlash. I had never meant for that comment to mean that Hayley was better than any other character or series out there, but that’s what it was taken as. Regardless, I don’t think it’s a big deal anymore, but for a moment, I thought my little comment might have started a mini-riot. LG15 fans, if you’re reading this, we love Bree and the Resistance!
- Weekends seem like a bad time to release videos (although it was a 3-day weekend for some people, which might be impacting the numbers). Episode 1 and 2 both had more views the second day of release than the first. However, Episode 3 actually dropped about 40% on its second day, which was Saturday.
- YouTube is king. Since YouTube has the infrastructure already in place for social networking, ratings, comments, etc, it became obvious that most of our Hayley/viewer interaction should actually happen on youtube. While Hayley will interact with her viewers on both youtube and the main site, we’re seeing a lot more activity on the youtube channel. This makes complete sense for a few reasons:
- YouTube already has a massive installed base. This eliminates any barriers that registering at a new site might cause for some people. If someone already has a youtube account, they’re more likely to interact, comment, and rate than if they have to create a new account on a third party site. YouTube’s social networking aspect also facilitates discussion and eliminates the “empty room” problem that occurs when starting up a new site. All the viewers are already on YouTube, so it makes more sense for us to come to them, rather than convince them to come to us
- YouTube’s subscription feature is a retention device that essentially functions the same way as DVR recording. Every time we put out an episode, it’s already sitting in a subscriber’s account, ready to play. This eliminates any need to remind someone to keep checking back for more episodes. It’s an instant retention vehicle
- YouTube is easily embeddable and shareable among friends. This increases the viral nature of videos, and gives our series the best chance for success. While we would love for people to come to our site and interact on it, my gut tells me that youtube is going to be the engine for most of the interactivity, and the main site will be used to provide additional information, clues, etc.
Anyway, that’s a not-as-brief-as-I-planned recap of the previous week. We’re still learning as we’re going, but it’s been a fun ride so far and I’m sure there will be quite a lot more to learn before the series has completed its run.