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Revived Shows Come With Links To Brands

Three shows that aired before Facebook and Twitter existed will be making comebacks this season and a research company is using social media to figure out who will be watching them and who should be advertising on them.

4C Insights fired up its Measurement and Planning tool (MAP) to take a look at Full House, The X-Files and Twin Peaks. The firm says two different types of viewers are following the revivals of these classic shows: those nostalgic for the original series and those that experienced the originals long after their original broadcast.

Grant Parker, VP of strategic partnerships at 4C Insights, isn’t usually in the business of looking at new shows and picking winners. “It’s interesting because these shows, at least the reboot, haven’t aired yet and a previous version aired at a time when social media didn’t really exist, so our affinity data is based on a set of users who are still actively engaging with these brands and who love them despite them being off the air for 10, 20 years,” Parker said.

The viewer most excited about Netflix’s Fuller House is a 31-year-old woman who would have been 11 years old when Full House went off the air. 4C expects Fuller House to skew about 65% female.

For X-files, it’s no mystery that those who are most eager for the return of agents Mulder and Scully on Fox were 20 years old when the show signed off and are 33 today. Like most shows in the science fiction genre, 4C expects X-Files to skew male, with a 63%-37% split.

Twin Peaks, being revived by Showtime, is a slightly different case. It found people who are interested in the show would have been 11 years old when it first aired—too young to be fans of such a dark and twisted series. 4C says Twin Peaks status as a cult hit meant it has already been rediscovered by new viewers years after it was a broadcast sensation.

4C says social media information gives it the ability to find brands that viewers interested in these returning shows also demonstrate an affinity for. Some are easily explained, others are the kinds of counter-intuitive results that make data and research worthwhile.

For example viewers for the family comedy Fuller House are tied to household products like Yoplait, Ziploc, Colgate and Tropicana. Also on the list was Aflac insurance, which is arguably about protecting one’s family.

X-Files viewers have a preoccupation with technology, with brands like Android, Dell, Microsoft and Sony topping the list. Because X-Files fans are non-conformists, they have more of an affinity with Android than Apple. But X-Files fans, for reasons that are less clear, also are linked to KFC.

“The fact that some of these things are intuitive and that they make sense, in a lot of ways that validates that social engagement data is actually representative of real human behavior,” Parker said. “For us it’s always the non-intuitive that is eye opening,” he added. “If I was Fox, I would certainly want to talk to KFC and say you probably never would have considered this, but we have data that shows there’s actual people that are engaging with your brand and our show.”

The brands Twin Peaks gets linked with are GE, Motorola, Kit Kat, Nikon, and surprisingly Chevrolet. One might have thought viewers of an artsy, sophisticated show like Twin Peaks would favor a less conventional car brand, like a Saab or Subaru, Parker noted.

“If you use the right analytical lens, you’re able to see whether connections between, in this case, a television show and a brand are fleeting or whether they’re permanent and long-lasting,” he said, “and whether they in the future will predict that by exposing someone who’s a fan of that show to content from that brand you’re more likely to see a response, and therefore drive a more valuable advertiser experience.”

4C also noted shows that people interested in the revivals have affinities for. With Full House, viewers also have social links to Girl Meets World, Last Man Standing, Baby Daddy, Wahlburgers and Dancing With the Stars.

X-Files viewers are also interested in Marvel’s Agent Carter, The Strain, Penny Dreadful, @midnight and Falling Skies.

And are there current off-beat shows appealing to the Twin Peaks fan base? How about Fargo, Louie, Portlandia, Mad Men and Community?  

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.