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Blogs & Comment

Now that we have ‘word of mouse’, why aren’t we listening?

Rayan Karaky is chief digital officer at SMG MENA

“Regardless of what you think of their accuracy, TV ratings have helped guide TV advertising for years.

However here are few thoughts to consider; do our ratings know Ari Gold, Harvey Specter or even Nicholas Brody, to name a few? During Ramadan last year, a show called Saher El Leil generated only 2.97 rating points in Saudi Arabia compared with another MBC show called Wifi, which generated 36 rating points and ranked number one. Yet Saher El Leil had around 27,000 mentions on Twitter in its first week of airing and 101,000 search queries, while Wifi received only 3,600 mentions and 7,000 search queries. Which one would you sponsor?

During that same period the most talked about show, Omar, dominated with 22 rating points, 176,000 search queries and 60,000 mentions. Most of these mentions carried a negative sentiment, yet the ad space was filled in no time. (That’s what the ratings said?)

Twitter comments related to TV shows have reached more than 100 million in the US and, with content integration and creation around TV programmes becoming bigger for brands, the impact of well-analysed social data on ad choices is becoming undeniable. Video-on-demand platforms are growing and DVRs are becoming more popular, which means that the deeper insights big data provides to TV advertisers (now called video advertisers) will decide the fate of a TV show, where you advertise, what you sponsor and what show is worth building content around. We either turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the social space when it comes to TV or we become conscious of the fact that ratings have been set out to measure the wrong thing and are not the sole measure of what good TV means.

Back in the day we used to say that the dream measure for any advertising would be word of mouth, but we didn’t have the means to validate that.  Now that we have ‘word of mouse’, tell me why the heck aren’t we listening?”

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