It’s fairly often while on Twitter that I see things which make me roll my eyes. It’s not that often where I make it a point to copy the tweet word for word and go looking for numbers to prove a tweet wrong.
But, after viewing the tweet below (username withheld, obviously) I couldn’t help myself.
"Someone please explain this anomaly, Scandal promoted non-stop but with a small audience. Castle barely promoted but viewed by MANY."
The inherent logic of that tweet is flawed. A show with a smaller audience is the one that would need the promotion, not the one with the massive audience. So, if that is your belief you are essentially complaining that ABC doesn’t promote your favorite show all day, every day because its your favorite, not because the show actually needs it.
Promotion, however, works to generate dollars. Shows that pull in a solid performance and have a likelihood of drawing new viewers are where the advertising dollars go. If overall viewers mattered, Castle would have the promotional push of Scandal.
But let’s talk about ratings because one of the bullshit excuses people throw out there for being ‘deserving of promotion’ is that Castle is the most watched scripted show on the network and/or on television.
It’s not, at least in the way that matters for advertising dollars. The most watched scripted show on television in demo and overall viewers is The Big Bang Theory for comedy and NCIS for drama. The most watched show in demo and overall viewers on ABC? Scandal and Castle.
In season three, Scandal became the fastest growing returning series on television. On average, the show pulled in a 3.5 demographic with an average 9.11 million viewers for its third season. That was a 48% increase from season two where it pulled in 2.8 in the demo and 8.5 million overall viewers.
In season six, Castle averaged 1.98 in the demo and 11.5 million viewers. Seems like they should earn all sorts of awards, right? Wrong. While the overall viewer average is impressive, it essentially means nothing. Unless you are between the ages of 18-42, your eyeballs on a tv screen means nothing in promotional dollars for your show. No advertiser really gives a damn about you, so a show can pull in 2 million additional viewers than another, perform poorly in a demographic and still manage to be cancelled (it happens all the time).
The demographic numbers are what determine how hot your show is and, as you can see, Scandal is kicking Castle’s ass. THAT is why Scandal is on a non-stop promotional rotation - it is bringing in the money. Whatever ABC puts into promoting the show they will more than likely get back in demographic success, which makes advertisers clamor to pay more money so that their ad is displayed while the show is on.