‘Empire’ Season Premiere Proves Online Watch Parties Are Back

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Empire’ Season Premiere Proves Online Watch Parties Are Back.

In the first three days of premiere week the number of young men turning on their TVs dropped by a stunning 22 percent compared to last year, Nielsen ratings show. After what seemed to be an endless summer hiatus, this week millions of African American television viewers are picking up the remote control and their smartphones to watch their favorite TV shows with a running commentary firing up the Twitterverse.

To no one’s surprise, the overnight ratings show that Empire is still a major hit for Fox: 16 million viewers turned in, earning the second season premiere a Nielsen score of 6.5. But it’s still an incredibly impressive turnout for 2015, when the TV landscape is more fragmented than ever and an increasingly lower percentage of viewers bother to tune in live.

This season, that number fell to 2.36 million during Sept. 21-23, according to Nielsen data. “That the [young men] figure is down to that amount is very interesting and speaks to the point there are other activities besides TV,” Horizon Media’s senior vice president of research, Brad Adgate, told The Post. As Vulture’s Joe Adalian, one of entertainment media’s most insightful numbers analysts, points out on Twitter, those ratings stack up well even against earlier broadcast hits: And that’s not even accounting for ratings that include DVR viewings three and seven days post-broadcast. There are several explanations for the shocking decline, including, of course, youngsters watching video via subscription services and YouTube on their mobile devices. Now that Empire’s premiere has passed, the social media watchers are taking a breath and getting ready for Thursday night’s twisty trifecta known as TGIT: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder (known to most fans in acronym form “HTGAWM”).

It’s growing, and the competition online is so much keener.” Meanwhile, Fox’s “Empire” notched a huge 16.2 million viewers on its return on Wednesday, proving that good shows can still draw huge numbers. Well-known Internet booster and BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield noted that TV personalities Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan recently told viewers how they loved to binge-watch the new Netflix original “Narcos” — basically urging traditional TV viewers to turn off their cable box and stream a show. “Linear TV is in serious trouble but for event programming such as ‘Empire,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Walking Dead,’ ” Greenfield said. “It’s a bloodbath.” According to a recent report on African American consumers from Nielsen and Essence Magazine, African American viewers on average put in 51 minutes of television watching time weekly, which is 42 percent higher than the total population. This explains why producers like Shonda Rhimes and cast members get so intimately involved in these shows on Twitter and Facebook the night of the show. In comparison to the two other Rhimes shows, Grey’s—which has been a television staple for 12 seasons now—still does well in the ratings in all demographics but doesn’t have the must see, viral social media reach among African Americans that it does among other audiences.

Shows like Empire and Scandal are good television because the writers and producers are very aware that they need to have all the bells and whistles, crazy one-liners and tight dialogue that make for viral gold. Tamarra Allen 47, of Atlanta is one of the driving forces behind the Facebook group Empire (Fox Show) Taraji P Henson & Terrence Howard, which has over 67,000 members. Although last season there were a lot of cricket moments as Scandal gave us weeks of Olivia Pope being taken hostage, there were no nodding-off moments in Empire.

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