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‘Batwoman’: CW Drama Tops New Fall Shows in Two TV Awareness Studies (EXCLUSIVE)

If awareness of a new show were directly correlated to viewership, then The CW”s “Batwoman” would be the biggest hit of the new fall TV season. According to two new studies, both exclusively obtained by Variety, “Batwoman” leads this fall’s crop of freshman broadcast series in terms of both viewers “aware” of a show, and the “demand” for a show.

Other shows earning early recognition and potential interest are the CW’s “Nancy Drew,” ABC’s “Stumptown” and “Emergence,” NBC’s “Bluff City Law” and CBS’ “Evil.”

According to Ipsos’ latest TV Dailies report, organized by lead product manager Thomas Kelley and exclusively shared with Variety, “Batwoman” leads all new series garnering a “definite interest in viewing” among thousands of people between the ages of 13 and 64 who were surveyed between Aug. 26 and Sept. 15.

Meanwhile, Variety also asked Parrot Analytics to create a study using its proprietary “Demand Expressions” metric focusing on the new fall broadcast TV shows, and it too found that “Batwoman” overindexed the most compared to the overall average for all television series.

The early awareness and interest in “Batwoman” and “Nancy Drew” are easy to explain: Both are based on well-known franchises, which give them a leg up with consumer recognition in a cluttered marketplace. Similarly, ABC’s “Mixed-ish,” which did well with Parrot Analytics’ chart, is the spinoff of hit comedy “Black-ish,” and ABC’s “Stumptown” is based on a graphic novel with a cult following.

“For ‘Batwoman,’ its demand is more than three times the market average title in the U.S. already,” said Parrot marketing vice president Samuel Stadler. “This says to us that this is a very strong contender, a release that should go very well… there are so many drama titles out there, if you have a hook against existing IP or audiences are already aware of the universe you’re about to explore, it’s much more likely that series will resonate.”

With the new TV season officially kicking off on Monday, per Nielsen, the broadcasters are playing for stability this fall — launching just 17 series among five networks over the next month, and saving some of their big swings for midseason. That’s allowed their marketing departments to be more targeted in their launch campaigns.

And that’s where fall awareness studies can help — giving execs some sense of which messages are resonating, and which shows might need a little extra oomph. The networks conduct their own internal awareness study, which they don’t share with the public or the press, but over the years it’s become apparent that there are limits to predicting a hit vs. a flop. That’s particularly true in an age where audiences consume television differently, and on their own timetable.

Ipsos TV Dailies’ “Top Box intent to view” is defined as audience members who said they would definitely watch the program. That means they were aware of the title, correctly linked it to the network it would be airing on and selected that it is an upcoming show that they would watch.

In this chart, for example, 32% of respondents, or just under 1 in 3 people age 13 to 64 who were aware of “Batwoman,” and knew it was airing on The CW, said they would definitely watch.

Here’s the list of new shows receiving 20% or higher “intent to view” marks from the Ipsos TV Dailies survey:

PREMIERE DATE Title (NETWORK) Top BOX ITV
10/6/2019 Batwoman (The CW) 32%
9/24/2019 Emergence (ABC) 28%
9/26/2918 Evil (CBS) 26%
9/23/2019 Prodigal Son (Fox) 25%
9/25/2019 Stumptown (ABC) 24%
9/26/2019 Carol’s Second Act (CBS) 24%
10/9/2019 Nancy Drew (The CW) 22%
9/23/2019 Bluff City Law (NBC) 22%
9/29/2019 Bless the Harts (Fox) 21%
9/23/2019 Bob Hearts Abishola (CBS) 20%
10/6/2019 Kids Say the Darndest Things (ABC) 20%
source: Ipsos tv dailies; Average Top Box INTENT TO VIEW (August 26th – Sept 15th, 2019)

Meanwhile, Parrot Analytics’ “Demand Expressions” measurement combines streaming, peer-to-peer downloads, social media, comments, blogs and other sources.

Because the new shows haven’t aired yet, much of the metric currently focuses on how people are interacting online with the titles. In the case of “Batwoman” and “Mixed-ish,” for example, people are researching those shows on sites like Wikipedia.

“We track demand irrespective of whether or not a show is on air,” Stadler said. “Obviously the demand will increase once we get some trailers into market and once it airs. The value of this is, our partners work out where to deploy their marketing budgets. Because if we can give them a view on which particular show is resonating well with audiences, and how that is different relative to other shows, that allows them to make better decisions in terms of prioritization of effort.”

Stadler said he was surprised to see so many new titles already outperforming the U.S. market average of shows — a good sign, perhaps for new shows that are showing evidence of anticipation. Coincidentally or not, several TV critics have been writing recently that this is a much more highly-anticipated fall than usual for the broadcast networks, with more new series earning encouraging early marks.

Here’s how the new fall broadcast shows are indexing on Parrot Analytics’ “Demand Expressions” chart, compared to the market average:

Title (NETWORK) market average comparison
Batwoman (The CW) 3.22
Mixed-ish (ABC) 2.58
Nancy Drew (The CW) 1.94
Stumptown (ABC) 1.85
Bluff City Law (NBC) 1.64
Emergence (ABC) 1.44
The Unicorn (CBS) 1.15
All Rise (CBS) 1.03
Perfect Harmony (NBC) 1.00
Prodigal Son (Fox) 0.98
Evil (CBS) 0.93
Almost Family (Fox) 0.73
Carol’s Second Act (CBS) 0.52
Kids Say the Darndest Things (ABC) 0.39
Bob Hearts Abishola (CBS) 0.39
Bless the Harts (Fox) 0.36
Sunnyside (NBC) 0.33
source: pARROT ANALYTICS; table comparing the demand for each NEW BROADCAST shows to demand for the average US title across all platforms over the same time period (Aug 11-Sep 9, 2019).

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