Analytics, Digital, Marketing, OTT, Television

TO “A/B” OR NOT TO “A/B”… TEST

There is so much that Television Producers and Executives could learn by paying attention to the most common mistakes that marketers understand when applying A/B tests in their communication efforts.  

Some Television Producers and Executives react to the results of ratings from the previous day, and start reinventing or formulating theories when preparing new programs.  This happens day after day, and do not let ideas grow.

On September 13, 2018, NPR’s Terry Gross asked the anchor’s of this year’s Emmy awards, if they had taken into consideration that the Emmy Awards gala might be affected by Hurricane Florence new cycle.  The questioning tried to dig into what type of message they will send to the nation if the effects of the hurricane were devastating, but I couldn’t help to think of all the occasions where a big premiere, or a show with a big guest star, coincides with a catastrophe or another special situation that dominates the attention of the audience.  These unique events are a common problem for marketers when doing A/B testing.  How many producers take into consideration unique events before making desperate changes to a program, or do not anticipate other big events, such as the World Cup or any other event in the local market where they are programming their broadcast?  I’ve seen it before. Some politicians seem to know the trick, and they plan, what journalists like to call a big “News Dump day” on Fridays, Holidays, or heavy news days like those of a hurricane coverage. If the bad news can’t be avoided, at least they try to dilute it.  

Also a common problem is the time given to the test.  Some media executives tend to cancel new programs that are not doing good in ratings, sometimes too soon.  They expect the programs to be automatic hits, when in reality the problem is that they are testing their success too quickly.  No wonder some OTT services, such as Netflix, started reviving series that were too young to die, such as Arrested Development.

Of all these parallelisms, probably the most common is generalizability.  There is a common belief among Hispanic Networks in the US that when your ratings are down, or when you want to appeal to the West Coast audience, bringing Mariachis (a traditional Mexican folk music) to play live in the studio will work as a magic wand.  I don’t know who started the trend, but the idea has surely consolidated in the patina of “creative producers” that are just searching for a quick fix. I can only think that a producer did this once, or twice and the ratings went up. From that moment on, no one dares to question this generalization.  This is also the disconnection between Hispanics operating television networks in the East Coast without daring to explore what their audience is, and feels in the West Coast.

For all the young producers out there…Dare to question everything, but please, remember to be timely.  

STATUS: TRANSPLANTING SKILLS

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