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Measuring Results and Getting Feedback

April 5, 2009


As a filmmaker working in an interactive medium like web television, it’s important to leverage and solicit feedback whenever possible. Sure you might be able to measure viewership, ratings, comments, etc during the season, but there is still A LOT that you don’t know. One of the first things my marketing professor said on Day 1 of business school was “You aren’t your consumer and no matter what you think, you don’t think like they do”.  All the biases in your head can cloud your judgment. With that in mind, we just released the first ever Hayley Project survey!

The objectives of this survey is for us to gauge how well we did across a bunch of different metrics (e.g., editing, acting, storyline, interactivity, etc.) and also learn what elements our most highly-engaged viewers are looking for from our series. Are they looking for more comedy, suspense, drama? All these questions are hard to answer unless you go right up and ask them (which is why we’re doing this).

One of the things I’m most curious about is, what other shows are our viewers watching? I can tell you (as I have many times) that our main target demos skew young, 13-24 and female. However, what YouTube metrics do not provide is what the target audience’s attitudes and pyschographics are. To understand that, we asked questions around what other TV shows and Web series they watch. Hopefully, this will allow us to draw insight into the type and tone of the shows that appeal to them. We had always hypothesized that our viewers might be heavy viewers of Veronica Mars, or LG15, but now we’ll have data to support this. (Note: As of the time of this writing, HEROES is actually the highest-watched TV show among our viewers, which is surprising to me. Guess it proves the point that you can’t assume anything about your audience).

Once the survey is closed, I’ll disclose some of the results. What I’ve seen so far is already surprising to me, so I’m glad we’re gaining some new insights. Of course I won’t reveal how we’re going to use these results. For example, one of our questions asks who the audience wants to see come back in Season 2. This information can be used for “good” or it can be used for “evil”. Successful writers take audience expectations and leverage that to create emotional responses in dramatic situations. In other words, it might just tell us who is a good candidate to kill off 😉 j/k… maybe.

One tip about fielding surveys…. make sure you give the respondents some sort of incentive. In this case, we allow responders to ask Rachel a question at the end of the survey that she’ll answer in a few weeks in a video blog. So far, it looks like this has been a success as our response rates seem fairly high (~15% based on YT views and survey responses).

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