Digital Audience Ratings: Post-Apocalyptic Programming Comes to Life

Each week Variety publishes ListenFirst Digital Audience Ratings (DAR), a measurement of fan engagement across all the major digital platforms as it relates to TV shows (see the film version here). Provided by ListenFirst Media, DAR measures what entertainment content is resonating most across Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia combined. For more on the methodology behind DAR, scroll to the bottom of the article.

Digital Audience Ratings (DAR)
Weekly Top 10 Monday Sept 8, 2014 – Sunday Sept 14, 2014

1 1 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 30,436
2 2 Jimmy Kimmel Live! 17,053
3 4 America’s Got Talent 8,318
4 7 Conan 5,731
5 3 The Simpsons 5,423
6 8 Top Gear 5,112
7 9 Sesame Street 4,750
8 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 4,569
9 10 The Voice 4,368
10 The Walking Dead 4,300
First time on the chart
Pinnacle Rank

Trending Monday Sept 8, 2014 – Sunday Sept 14, 2014

Charlie Rose 499 +1,627%
About a Boy 163 +604%
Z Nation 71 +453%



  • One month out from its season five premiere, “The Walking Dead” has crept its way into the top 10 for the first time. The show ramped up activity across the board inspiring fans to share, view, like and retweet content teasing the one month countdown across Facebook, with their “October is coming” post as well as on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” popped into the top 10 this week, riding the topic of student debt to the number eight spot. The show’s top YouTube clip of the past month garnered 1.8M views on YouTube over the week, and nearly 45K comments and thumbs up.
  • As the latest entry in the zombie/post-apocalyptic genre, Syfy’s “Z Nation” drummed up plenty of buzz toward the end of the week, following its series premiere. Within 24 hours, the show’s first episode quickly became one of the most-pirated TV episodes in recent years. Thanks to organic buzz around this leak and the premiere, the show is number three on our Trending chart this week.
  • “Charlie Rose” got in on the action of Apple’s big week, interviewing CEO Tim Cook on buying Beats, Steve Jobs and Apple TV. The interview was not only enough to deserve a two-part special, but also to drum up a 1,600% increase in its Digital Audience Rating, landing the show on top of this week’s trending list.



ListenFirst Digital Audience Ratings (DAR) are a raw aggregate of daily engagements based on owned, earned and organic consumer behavior on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube. These engagements encompass metrics pertaining to audience growth, page/profile views, page-level and post-level interactions, hashtag volume and Wikipedia page views for all television program and film pages (which provides a proxy for organic search volume).

Organic conversation volume is calculated based on the use of official hashtags, as well as those hashtags submitted directly from programmers and distributors. Only hashtags where conversation can be isolated to a specific television program or film are included in the rating.

The Variety Weekly Top 10 and Trending Leaderboards for television represent the 7-day (Monday – Sunday) sum total of DAR for all episodic programming, in and out of season, from the most popular programmers (Broadcast, Cable, & Streaming Services). Sports, live events, short-form content and other non-episodic programming are excluded from this ranking cohort but available to be rated directly by ListenFirst Media.

The Variety Weekly Top 5 and Trending Leaderboards for film represent the 7-day (Wednesday – Tuesday) sum total of DAR for all US Domestic Films that have been publicly announced and slated for a commercial theatrical release. Films are rated daily from initial public announcement through 4 weeks post home entertainment street date. Festival films and other films not slated for a commercial theatrical release are excluded from this ranking cohort but available to be rated directly by ListenFirst Media.

For both television and film, the Trending Leaderboard surfaces the three programs or films that tracked the largest relative growth in DAR (from the previous 7-day measurement period), and are also in the top 25% based on absolute DAR.

ListenFirst monitors the official digital account owned by the program or film on each aforementioned platform (except for Wikipedia, where the title-specific profile is considered official). Only the U.S. version of a program or film’s digital presence is monitored; for platforms that support regional profiles like Facebook, the “Global” profile is considered the U.S. profile. Only profiles that can be attributed to the specific program or film contribute to the rating (i.e. engagements that happen on the profile facebook.com/LouieFX are tracked, while engagements that happen on facebook.com/FX are not). For YouTube, in addition to any program or film-specific presence, content related to the program or film in question that originated on the parent company’s official YouTube channel is considered.

For other questions pertaining to methodology, contact ListenFirst Media.

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