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The Emotional Attachment™ of ‘Breaking Bad’

AMC’s “Breaking Bad” finished its fifth season and its run on Sunday night by breaking all of its previous audience records, with 10.3 million tuning in, according to TheWrap. Some marketers even paid a reported $400K for a 30-second spot during those 75 minutes.


That’s quite a jump considering that the first season of the show in 2008 attracted an average of one million viewers per episode, and the going rate per spot was about $130K.

But NewMediaMetrics could have told advertisers that this show was gaining year-over-year momentum in Emotional Attachment™ — the content-alignment company’s proprietary measure of audience “draw”– since its third season.

According to NewMediaMetrics, viewers’ emotional attachment to “Breaking Bad” increased 60 percent from 2012 to 2013. Its rank among more than 360 cable and broadcast TV shows was 122 in 2011, and by 2013 it had risen to 31.

Beyond the high quality of the show’s writing, cinematography, cast and direction, the increase in EA and popularity is likely also attributable to the following factors:

  • Social-media buzz
  • Streaming services such as Netflix that enabled the curious to binge view and catch up with what original devotees of the show were raving about
  • Increased market penetration of tablets that make content accessible anywhere at any time

NewMediaMetrics has been saying for years that brand marketers need to think less about demographics, networks and day parts. Instead, they should concentrate more on how a very powerful and compelling piece of content pulled an ever-growing audience to it and became a bona fide pop-culture phenomenon that made AMC “the one who knocks” when it comes to scripted dramas.

Gary Reisman Talks Shop at OMMA Video Conference

Burgeoning media platforms spawned time-shifted TV viewing and that’s just one of the many headaches media executives are trying to deal with whether they’re buyers or sellers. TV shows aren’t always watched when broadcast, viewers can skip commercials on DVR’s and many are engaging with social media on a second screen while consuming content. What’s a media planner to do?

Nobody has anything figured out but just about everyone has theories on how best to reach consumer targets.

Gary Reisman, co-founder of NewMediaMetrics (@NewMediaMetrics), for one, advised media executives not to buy “media” per se, but to “buy the buyers.” That is, to identify customers who have the highest affinity for a particular brand and then deploy brand messages across media platforms and content for which the customers also have a high affinity.

“If an alien dropped from space and looked at how we’re buying media, he’d think we’re insane,” Reisman declared as a panelist at the OMMA Video Conference in New York on May 17.  The methods used to buy media, Reisman added, are still invested in the historical “inertia” of TV.

Reisman was joined by other executives on the panel, “Online vs. Offline/Buyer vs. Seller: Is Video Advertising Cross Platform, or at Cross Purposes?” Tim Hanlon (@timhanlon) CEO & Managing Director, The Vertere Group, LLC, served as moderator.

Reisman’s fellow panelists were: Talia Arnold, Director, Digital Strategy, Horizon Media; Andy Chapman, Leader, Digital Trading, Mindshare North America; Steve Grimes, Senior Vice President, Digital Media, Comedy Central; Scott Schiller, EVP Digital Media Sales, Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media, NBCUniversal

For more of Reisman’s witticisms, see videos below.

It’s a Mad Mobile World

NewMediaMetrics co-founder Gary Reisman had an unusual start to his moderating duties at the Digital Hollywood Media Summit on March 8 in New York. Just as he introduced the panelists to a packed room concerned with the issues around Advertising Accountability: Metrics and Analytics around Video, Social Media, Broadband and Mobile, an attendee wandered in talking loudly on his mobile phone, completely oblivious to proceedings. After a few moments of stunned silence during which the phone conversation was the only sound in the room, the caller looked around sheepishly, apologized and exited. Hilarity ensued among the panelists followed by what turned out to be a lively, sometimes combative, hour-long debate: Eugene Becker, VP, Analytics, Xaxis; Bob Ivins, VP of Data & Research, Comcast Spotlight; Scott McKinley, EVP Advertising Effectiveness, Nielsen; Debbie Solomon, Managing Director, Business Planning, MindShare; Mark Pascarella, CEO, uberVU; Jeff Plaisted, Senior Director, U.S. Sales and Strategy, Mobile & Skype Advertising, Microsoft; and Dr. Raymond Pettit, VP of Market Research, PRN.  Click the video to get Reisman’s take on one of the more compelling insights.

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