6 Reasons Why New Kids Animated TV Properties Should Be Audience Tested…
Producing animated content is not a cheap business. In fact it’s an inherently expensive and risky process.
The need to validate / reduce risk with a new cartoon series is one of the primary drivers for commissioning qualitative research with children. We’ve conducted dozens of research projects assessing entertainment content with this target audience, and literally every time we have tested, the findings have delivered significant insight which either gave the client the peace of mind / ammunition to proceed, suggested tweaks and changes (from light to fundamental) through to advising clients to bin the project and start again. The fact that these clients have come back to us on future projects suggests our findings were on the ball.
So here’s 6 ways that audience research can help TV production companies:
1. Validate basic concept – the start point for all research has to be is there any appeal in the basic concept itself, because if there isn’t, then there is little point proceeding further.
2. Test Characters And Character Balance – sometimes consumer research with kids reveals unpopular characters, highlights secondary characters with the potential to be leading stars or finds an imbalance in the overall character mix. Needless to say, finding out this information comparatively early in the production process can make a huge difference in terms of the potential success of the show.
3. Reveal Inbuilt Or Identify Potential Viral Factors – encouraging word of mouth is a critical part of the formula when it comes to children’s TV. The social environment of the playground can be a strong driver of interest in new programming. Qualitative research with kids is often very effective in terms of finding the key discussion points in content – whether it be a particular gadget, move, saying or something else.
4. Identify Lulls In The Action – one of the major channel changing drivers is a lull in the entertainment/engagement level during a program. Broadcasters are obviously not very interested in shows which are only partially/occasionally entertaining/engaging. With commercial TV, you really need to bring the viewer back after the ad break to succeed. We’ve been using a couple of proprietary testing methodologies for more than 15 years to test for this factor.
5. More Clearly Identify Consumer Target – we often conceive and produce based on subjective presumptions of what boys & girls want, or of what children at a certain age like. The reality is that while there are some un-bendable ‘rules’ when it comes to each consumer segment, there is also a myriad of other apparently minor factors which can make a huge difference to how suitable TV content is for the targeted audience.
6. Identify & Maximise Licensing And Merchandising Opportunities – we routinely identify opportunities for TV companies to significantly increase the merchandising opportunity for their property/ies. For example, on a recent project, we identified 2 missing components, which potentially left 25% of the opportunity out of the reckoning. By making comparatively simple amendments we can directly attribute a quantifiable positive impact of the research project we conducted!