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Survey Results for The Hayley Project

May 13, 2009

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After a few weeks in field, we closed up  The Hayley Project survey and looked at the results. We had about a 100 respondents, which is large enough to generate insights. This survey really allowed us to take a step back and say, “what was working for the viewers? what wasn’t? and what can we do to improve?”

The results are quite interesting and in some cases, confirm what we had been thinking. In other cases, we were quite surprised by the results.

Makeup of Viewers

The overall respondent population looked like this:

  • 59% Female/41% Male
  • Avg. age 21

Approximately half of the overall group were also LG15 viewers (not surprising considering how often we were compared to the show). This LG15 sub-population skews more female.

  • 67% female vs. 33% male
  • Avg age 20

Overall, I didn’t see a huge difference in survey results from these two populations, although there were some people who had referenced LG15 in comments, and even requested Jessica Rose to be a guest star next season.

What other webseries do our viewers watch?

We know the webseries category has a fragmented audience base, and our survey results support this. As mentioned above, about half of our audience claim to watch LG15. However, the next highest show was Dr. Horrible with only 21% of the audience claiming to have watched this. Dr. Horrible was the  Streamys Audience Choice Winner, was created by TV genius Joss Whedon and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day.

Kate Modern (another EQAL production) and The Guild also scored around 20%. After these titles, none of the other webseries were really being watched by Hayley Project viewers. It really speaks to the niche nature of our audience, but it might also indicate that there is little crossover among audiences in the web video category.

Grades

Overall, The Hayley Project received very strong marks across all elements (e.g., story, characters, acting, etc.). The one area that lagged slightly when compared to the other high scores was interactivity, even though interactivity still scored well overall. As one of our viewers mentioned in the comment section, he would have preferred that he could have impacted the plot and seen more video blog responses from Hayley, rather than reactions solely through the comments section. Rachel responds to this in our Q&A, but the gist of our response is that we would love to do this, but there were a lot of challenges with resources and time. This level of interactivity is something we are considering for next season (knock on wood, if there is a Season 2).

Most Important Elements

Below is a chart that shows the top 2 box level of agreement among respondents for each element. What this means is that a respondent had to select a 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale to score an element as ” very important”. The results below confirm that our viewers prefer a “genre” style show. Suspense, mystery, twists, and drama ranked as the most important elements of the show. It’s also nice to see that Comedy came out as fairly important, as we aspire to have a good mix between drama and comedy going forward (dramedy).

elements

Characters

Not surprisingly, the top 3 characters (excluding Hayley) that viewers want to see come back for Season 2 is the newly formed “Hayley gang” (Lexi, Slade, and Randy). Lexi leads the pack with a whopping 93% of viewers saying they want to see Lexi return. Lexi was followed by Slade (89%) and then Randy (69%).

From a writer’s perspective, I have to say I’m really happy to see that our arcs for Lexi and Slade worked well. Both characters started off as the “annoying” characters that Hayley had to deal with during her investigation. Fans didn’t like or support them early on in the season. (E.g., “i would kill myself first before i would have that kind of room mate [Lexi]”)

However, by the end of the series, Hayley had embraced them and apparently, so did the fans.

Hayley_Project_ 508

After these top 3, we have Detective Kedis (45%) and then Lili (30%), two big characters in terms of plot. What was really surprising was Madame Zizi, who appeared in only one episode (Episode 29), came in sixth (26%). I have to imagine that her appearance was quite memorable given the circumstances of that episode.

Viewers also wrote in and requested that we  bring in web star Jessica Rose and some more mainstream names in Ashley Tisdale, Miley Cyrus, and Miranda Cosgrove. (Yeah, doubt we’ll be seeing Miley Cyrus on the Hayley Project but keep dreaming!)

Episode Findings

The rankings of episodes is perhaps the most interesting, because it allows us to generate hypotheses around WHY these episodes ranked so highly. It also tells us what episodes we should be showcasing to people who have never seen the show. Although not shown in the chart below, Episode 12 “Dust” has been one of my favorites and one that I had been showcasing. I figured this episode had good production value and a bunch of quirky characters. So I was surprised to see that Episode 12 ranks as a top 7 episode among respondents only 12% of the time. This means it ranked 20 out of 37 episodes. This is also why my market research professor told our class “your gut is usually wrong”. Guess she was right.

So the highlights are:

  • 7 out of the top 10 episodes come in the last 10 episodes of the series, highlighting the fact that 1) we ended very strong and 2) viewers are impacted by either recency of the episodes or the payoff effect (e.g., the culmination of events lead to bigger payoffs towards the end of the season)
  • 7 out of the top 10 episodes have at least two of our non-Hayley stars in them. What I think this could mean (and what I had hypothesized before) is that the ensemble nature of these episodes is really when the series shines. Hayley is certainly a strong leading character, but when you mix in other quirky characters who clash and interact with Hayley, the episodes really get a lot more interesting and entertaining. In fact, Episode 32 and 35 exclude Hayley completely, yet ranks really highly. If we are fortunate to do a second season, it will be more ensemble from the beginning
  • Our viewers like Slade/Lexi combo. 4 out of the top 5 episodes include Slade and Lexi. And Episode 32 (rank 4) is a Slade/Lexi episode which doesn’t even have Hayley in it
  • One thing to note is that a lot of these episodes are also benefiting from the build-up of previous episodes. So it’s possible that some of these episodes are great from a serial payoff perspective, but not necessarily as stand-alone

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Advertising

In terms of advertising, 47% of responders said they wouldn’t be impacted at all by advertising (e.g., pre-rolls, post-rolls, overlays)  vs. 66% saying they wouldn’t be affected by product integration. Similarly, 45% of responders said they would continue to watch The Hayley Project if we turned on advertising but might be annoyed, while only 28% of respondents said they would be annoyed by product integration.

If done right, it seems like product integration is the better option for viewer experience.

So that’s a look into our fan survey results. Going forward, we’ll keep what we learned in mind. In the meantime, enjoy the Q&A from Rachel below. And a special thanks to Kodak and Jeff Hayzlett for giving our team two Zi6 pocket cameras at the Streamys (even though we didn’t win). Our team had fun playing with this gadget in L.A., and the quality was MUCH higher than I had expected. In fact, our fan Q&A was all taped using the Zi6.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. DaleMurph permalink
    May 24, 2009 10:07 pm

    Will The Hayley Project Season 2 start in 2009?

  2. May 25, 2009 8:56 am

    We would love to have it start in 2009, but at this point, it’s all contingent on being able to pull together resources and finances (which isn’t the easiest thing). I’ll try and keep people updated on this blog Thanks, @DaleMurph.

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