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Social TV: How Marketers Can Reach and Engage Audiences by Connecting Television to the Web, Social Media, and Mobile by Stacey Shepatin, Mike Proulx

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Chapter 5

Social TV Ratings

Adding a New Dimension to Television Audience Measurement

Computer geek turned secret agent Chuck Bartowski made his character debut on September 24, 2007. NBC’s one-hour action comedy Chuck quickly found itself an extremely loyal following.

In its series premiere, a sequence of events is set into motion when Chuck’s former college roommate-turned-CIA agent Bryce sends him an encoded e-mail. After cracking the puzzle, Chuck suddenly finds himself with the US Government’s top NSA and CIA intelligence downloaded to his brain. This set the stage for a television series plot that would give its audience an interesting combination of action, adventure, mystery, and comedy. Chuck premiered with over nine million viewers1 watching—a number that represented the highest ratings the series has garnered to date.

Toward the end of Chuck’s second season, NBC announced a radical strategic shift to its primetime programming format for the upcoming 2009 fall television season. Late night program host Jay Leno would be leaving The Tonight Show in favor of a one-hour primetime series simply called The Jay Leno Show.2 In order to accommodate this change, NBC would be canceling five of its scripted series—and Chuck was, as the television industry says, “on the bubble.”

Chuck’s audience size had steadily dropped by an estimated average of 1,200,000 viewers between the first and second season.3 There were reports that NBC.com was referencing Chuck’s season two finale as ...

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