The most watched telecast to date on Ovation TV, “Versailles” tells the story of King Louis XIV during his reign over 17th century France and the sex, murder and power plays that ravaged his court. The series, written by Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft, garnered a total combined premiere audience of 557K viewers and tripled the network’s average prime time audience in the adults 25 to 54 category. In an era of audience attention spans comparable to those of goldfish and advertisers fighting for eyeballs online, the show represents a significant accomplishment in independent television. What contributed to their success?
The series, originally filmed as a European show, presented a challenge to the team at Ovation TV: How do you successfully adapt European content to a U.S. audience? Pilotly is proud to have tested the series on our insights portal, Pilotly Instant Insights. “With Pilotly we tested the pilot episode and were able to get feedback on how it was received,” said Cate Hargrove, VP of research and audience development at Ovation TV, “We then recut the show and it tested significantly better the second time.” With data direct from viewers on specific show content, Ovation TV was able to stop guessing what would resonate with consumers and instead craft experiences proven to increase engagement. What’s more is the instant after viewers submitted their feedback, those insights were available to inform decisions.
“Pilotly’s real time reporting was amazing and something I’ve never seen before,” said Hargrove, “What I liked most about the tool was the ability to check in at any time and see how things were doing. With another partner I would have had to wait two weeks for feedback. Pilotly allowed me to manage the expectations of my team and give updates as insights came in.” As a result of such insights the Ovation TV team shortened sex and violence scenes perceived by American audiences to be too long or drawn out. Due to these and other minor tweaks to the content, completion rates on the show increased from 80% to 90%.
Additional viewer feedback on promotional pieces leading up to the series premiere allowed the Versailles team to know which ads performed best with which viewers. Through testing of promotional content it was revealed which spots resonated with the audience and which did not, causing specific promos to be cut that were originally thought to be the strongest. The pivoted marketing campaign significantly increased viewer acceptance rates, demonstrating the value of third party research in crafting content that rules.
Enabling content creators to have meaningful engagements with audiences around the world is our passion. With the Pilotly platform you can gather detailed feedback to improve business outcomes, both near term and long range. Whether French period drama or space exploration epoch, the insights gained from direct viewer feedback can help make your content king. Join us to get access to new business insights or new pilot content ad free in exchange for your feedback. Learn more…