Why BuzzFeed Exploding A Watermelon On Facebook Is Not The Future Of TV


An office worker in Washington, D.C., watches a video of BuzzFeed employees placing elastic bands around a watermelon as they wait for it to explode, April 8, 2016. Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

The post-lunchtime hours on a Friday are typically a time when office denizens start looking for online distractions — something, anything, to occupy them until it’s officially time to punch out. Last Friday, thousands of these people found exactly what they were looking for around 3 p.m. EDT as two BuzzFeed employees, on Facebook Live, exploded a watermelon by wrapping rubber bands around it.

It was the kind of audience that might set TV executives clutching their pearls: Nearly 2.8 million people accessed the stream during the afternoon doldrums (Eastern Time), with the number of concurrent viewers peaking at more than 800,000 at the moment the melon’s rind decided to call it a day, sending scads of pinkish flesh flying through the air.

While those numbers are not unimpressive, they don’t signal the end of traditional television as we know it.

Getting 2.8 million people to watch any one thing is not an easy task; getting 800,000 of them to watch something at the same time, particularly when it hasn’t been marketed to any of them by traditional means, is even more impressive. The watermelon experiment was timed perfectly and given just the right amount of social-media juicing to go viral. TV industry sources gave BuzzFeed kudos for being able to attract that kind of internet-shattering attention.

But they’re not exactly quaking in their boots yet. Sure, 800,000 people sounds like a larger audience than quite a few of cable’s original scripted series — but that’s an apples-to-melons comparison.

The TV ratings most people use come from media research juggernaut Nielsen, and the ones used in the press generally measure only the U.S. audience. The audience for Facebook Live, meanwhile, is global. Moreover, TV ratings are measured in an entirely different way, one that takes into account the entire duration of a telecast.

“Digital content creators typically use ‘views’ in regard to online streaming, or else they provide unduplicated reach,” says Glenn Enoch, senior vp of audience insights at Nielsen. “Television ratings, on the other hand, represent the viewing in the average minute, so comparing the two is not a true and fair look at the given audiences.”

So when Nielsen says 818,000 people watched FX’s airing of the feature film “Just Go With It” on March 28, from 8 to 10 p.m., that means each minute of that airing averaged 818,000 viewers in the U.S. (Nielsen has created a true apples-to-apples way of comparing global digital and traditional viewership that it’s rolling out now.)

… read on at ibtimes.com

Originally posted by at International Business Times
11th April 2016