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Donald Glover’s ‘Atlanta:’ A Deep Dive Into the FX Fan Favorite

Atlanta, the comedy-drama series on FX created by and starring Donald Glover, took home two honors at the TCA Awards Saturday: outstanding achievement in comedy and individual achievement in comedy for Glover himself. Since it began airing in early September last year, the show has generated buzz and just two weeks in was renewed for a second season, which will air in 2018.

On the heels of the TCA Awards, B&C partnered with Canvs, the emotion analytics company, to see how viewers engage with Atlanta. We also worked with to see which brands were spending big and could see gains from season 2 (more on that below).

There were a total of 149,502 Emotional Reactions (ERs) around the 10-episode first season with, as you’d expect, the dominant emotion being love, occuring in 30.7% of all ERs. The second most prevalent expression was funny (14.3%), followed by enjoy (10.5%) and crazy (6.9%).   

Examining the discussion around the show’s humor more closely, Canvs uncovered that a particular moment in one episode had viewers laughing up a storm: In the seventh episode, titled "B.A.N.” (it originally aired Oct. 11), the show took a turn towards the satirical, which included a talk show complete with parody commercials that played throughout the episode. Put simply, people went nuts for the fake ads—and said as much on social media in a major moment for Atlanta’s buzzworthiness and momentum.  

Speaking of commercials, how did the real advertisers fare during the show during its first full season? According to iSpot, the attention and conversion analytics platform for TV advertising, since the season premiered and through re-runs this summer, 269 brands have aired 599 spots over 1,800 times with an estimated total spend of $7 million. Given that the show’s audience skews male with the largest age group being 18-34, it’s perhaps no surprise that the top spending brands came from the alcohol, mobile/video game, movie studio and quick-serve restaurant industries—including Miller Lite, 2K Games and Universal Pictures.

Viewers were also engaged with the advertising: the average view rate for commercials during the show is over 91.8% (view rate is the percentage of an ad that, on average, was viewed across all airings of that ad). Also good news for brands is that a majority of people (over 81%) watched episodes live.

With a high percentage of the audience viewing live, big brands will likely return for Atlanta's second season.