Popularity by Numbers?

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

Is there a correlation between TV audience data and popular program winners at the Logies?

The Logies will air on Nine on Sunday June 30 - awards will be handed out for both popular vote and outstanding work. It’s the “popular” awards that I was curious about - the notion of whether “popularity” can be quantified?

I mean when I was 12 years old I owned a Casio calculator watch which naturally made me popular but that’s an obvious correlation of data and popularity. In this instance I wonder if there is a correlation between TV audience data and popular program winners at the Logies?

I realise that other factors are in play with the whole voting system, networks/social media campaigning and the amount of times Alf Stewart says “Flamin Mongrel’ on air, but surely audience data has to have some say on what is popular on Australian TV?.

The other big factor is the one of recency - the awards should reflect the period of April 2018 to March 2019, but the voting is held in the last week of June, so programs that are still on air (or recently on air) have an advantage.

All that aside, let’s dive deep into the program data and see what we can find…..

Here are my predictions with a more in-depth explanation below for how I got to these conclusions:

Most Popular Comedy: Network Ten's “Have You been Paying Attention”

Most Popular Entertainment: Network Ten's "Gogglebox".

Most Popular Drama: Nine's "Doctor Doctor"

Most Popular Reality: Nine's "Married at First Sight"

Most Popular Panel or Current Affairs: Ten's "The Project".

Most Popular Lifestyle: Nine's "Travel Guides" or Ten's "The Living Room" or ABC's "Gardening Australia"

When trying to quantify TV popularity, I don’t think we can look at just one area, it would need to be a number of metrics – So after much probing, I believe from a statistical point of view we could perhaps define "Popular" as a combination of the following:

• Average Audience,

• Program Series Reach,

• Program Loyalty (average time spent viewing of actual program),

• Program Churn (factoring people who watched less than 5 minutes),

• Series Interest (looking at how audience evolved over the series) and

• Audience year on year Increase/Decline.

Using the above criteria, here is a look at which programs, statistically speaking are the most popular programs of 2018-19.

Most Popular Comedy:

The numbers point to another win for Network Ten's “Have You been Paying Attention". It scores well across all metrics - has the highest audience and reach of any other nominated program and has recorded year on year audience growth. The only program that may challenge is "Russell Coight's All Aussie Adventures" which recorded decent audience numbers.

Most Popular Entertainment:

The numbers point to a win for Network Ten's "Gogglebox" – which would be ironic given the most popular entertainment program would be a program of popular entertainers watching other popular programs??? Anyway, Gogglebox along with Nine's "The Voice" and ABC's "Gruen" recorded the highest audience of any other nominated program, but unlike those two programs, Gogglebox recorded a healthy increase in audience year on year. The main competition will actually come from ABC's "Hard Quiz" and "Anh's Brush with Fame" which both recorded healthy numbers around audience and loyalty and recorded increases on the previous year.

Most Popular Drama:

The numbers initially point to a win for ABC's "Mystery Road". The program has recorded the highest average audience of the nominated programs and scores high for loyalty and churn. The issue this program has is that the series was only 5 episodes long, it was last seen mid-2018 and the last episode recorded 30% less viewers than the first episode so scoring poorly in the Interest category.

This then brings Nine's "Doctor Doctor" and Foxtel's "Wentworth" into calculations. Doctor Doctor had the second highest audience and reach, while Wentworth, despite being off a smaller base (being on Pay TV), recorded growth in 2018 and more importantly is currently on air. The numbers suggest the winner to be one of these three programs but would have Nine's Doctor Doctor on top.

Most Popular Reality:

Whilst it's an even field given the large audiences and reach for all programs involved, the one program that stands out is Nine's "Married at First Sight". It recorded the highest average audience of all the nominated programs and the highest year on year growth. The finale averaged just over 2 million national metro TV viewers - the highest non-sporting program audience since mid-2017 (Aust Ninja Warrior Grand Final). Masterchef (still on air) and The Block will be MAFS main rivals for the award.

Most Popular Panel or Current Affairs:

The key insight here is that none of the nominated programs have recorded any real cumulative audience growth year on year and given the content, all have a similar loyalty and churn scores. So the focus should then be around reach and interest and from that perspective the winner should be Ten's "The Project". It has the second highest series reach of the nominated programs (behind Nine's ACA) but more importantly since January 2019 has shown steady increase (interest) which should give them an advantage now that voting is live.

Most Popular Lifestyle:

It is a real open category given that most of the programs show positive results in one or two metrics only. Therefore, the numbers point to one of three programs to take out this category - Nine's "Travel Guides" (highest audience and year on year growth), Ten's "The Living Room" (high cumulative reach) and ABC's "Gardening Australia" (also high cumulative reach and year on year growth).

So after Sunday night we will learn two things - firstly, what every celebrity was wearing and secondly and more pertinent to this topic whether or not TV audience data and popularity go hand in hand or whether the external factors discussed earlier weigh heavier than just how many people watch a program.

Of course when discussing the Logies it all comes down to the actual people voting - is there a profile for people who vote and if so how does that align with the profile of each nominated program?? …….but stat’s for another time.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss any of the above in detail or perhaps discuss any data and insights query you or your business may have - / 0425 807 860.

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