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Case Study

TV Ratings in 60 Seconds

We knew that we could predict hit TV shows, but could we do it with only the first minute of the show?



Is it possible to predict a hit show from the first 60 seconds?


We live in the golden age of entertainment. But that does not mean every show is golden. When video content costs this much to produce, you better be sure it's worth it. 

In 2018, a record 495 scripted TV series were aired, twice as many shows as 2010. Let's be honest: how much of this content do you really want to watch? That's where the extraordinarily rich data collected by the Immersion platform helps content creators. 

The platform identifies shows that will capture an audience, streamlines the editing process, and directs distributors to the most immersed demographics. Measuring immersion throughout the production process increases entertainment quality, audience share, and ultimately audience enjoyment.

We wondered if we could make the process even faster.


The Study

Our recent study on Predicting Hit Songs showed that Immersion predicted Spotify streams with 92% accuracy after people listened to new songs for one minute. 

If a minute of immersion was enough for songs, could just a little immersion predict TV ratings? Our analysis of 25 unscripted TV shows identified ratings hits with 84% accuracy by measuring immersion while people watched the first act of each show, usually 8-9 minutes. 

That approach generated over half a million data points. We decided to put the richness of neurologic data to the test by using only the first minute of immersion to see if it would predict hit shows.

This is a seriously hard challenge because it would ignore 87% of the data we had used in our first analysis.


Reality TV Shows


Accuracy in predicting TV ratings


Seconds of content

The Results

Replicating our previous analysis, we used a logistic regression to see how accurately immersion identified top-rated shows. Just one minute of immersion data predicted top shows with 80% accuracy – in other words, accuracy only fell by 4 percentage points compared to measuring immersion from the entire first act.

Even our team was surprised at the strength of this result! 

Knowing you’re releasing the next Breaking Bad is not only easy using the Immersion platform, it is fast! There’s no need to rely on subjective self-report nor you do have to measure all your content to predict market impact. 

Testing as little as one minute of your new show will establish if you have a smash hit before you release it into the wild.


Key Learnings

  1. Immersion measures what matters: You will know if you have a hit by capturing immersion for just a minute's worth of content. Advertisements are typically in 15, 30, and sometimes 60 second spots - so you need to make your impact even faster. Immersion can identify what works in very little time because it is measuring real brain activity for every second. 

  2. Find the next Sopranos or Breaking Bad early in the development process using Immersion's entertainment benchmarks that give you clear go/no-go signals.

  3. The golden age of entertainment is really golden when the quality of entertainment is consistently high. Editing content using the Immersion platform ensures that the content you love during production is loved by audiences, too.

Awesome, Right?!?

Download the full case study here.  Like Immersion's ability to predict hit reality shows, it will take less than a minute.