When you gather a host of the biggest young Hollywood superstars into one television show, you will be guaranteed a humongous hit. Scream Queens, FOX’s newest horror comedy show, premiered on September 22nd, and has already broken records on several mediums of entertainment. The show centers on a series of murder mysteries that involves the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority, and stars Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Abigail Preslin, Keke Palmer, and with guest stars Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas. The fact that these young stars dominate social media and have a hoard of fans following their every move is the key to the show’s rapid success.
Initially, the show’s premiere drew in 4 million viewers and gained a 1.7 star rating. Seems mediocre at first glance, but let’s look at the whole picture. First of all, the show’s target audience is clearly for the millennials; the 18-34 youth who are just as hip and tech-savvy as the show’s cast. So you can imagine all the marketing campaigns that were pushed before and during its premiere, and even occurring now.
With each of the star’s promotions through their personal Instagram accounts with hashtags and call-to-actions to follow Scream Queen’s official Instagram account, the latter racked up over 300,000 followers and counting. The classic combination of fashionable girls and archetypal horror elements makes for a guilty pleasure, and very engaging visuals for social media. As Nick Cicero, strategist at Brave Ventures stated, “something that is so young and visual, like Scream Queens, by pure nature of the show, it’s going to follow a totally new path where Scream Queens can use Instagram images and video in a different way than other shows may be able to.”
Besides Instagram, Twitter was used to create much buzz around the show, with the show’s cast hosting Q & A sessions and viewers holding their own hashtag-ed conversations around the show. Despite the overhaul of marketing and promotion for the show, why did it pull in such weak numbers and ratings? A huge part of it was because of how their target audiences simply choose to watch their favorite shows. It’s more common for them to watch shows through ways other than television. With digital platforms such as Fox Now and Hulu, viewers can watch at their most convenient time. Once those numbers are considered, it changes the whole story.
Three days after its premiere, numbers soared by 80%; increasing to 7.3 million viewers. It was also reported that 2 million tuned in for the rerun, and the show even bested Empire’s 2014 premiere in video on demand and streaming viewership. Activity on Twitter also blew up during the three-day window, with tweets centered on Scream Queens seen 32 million times. Another victory for Glee creator, Ryan Murphy, for sure.
Dana Walden of Fox Television Group says it best, “Scream Queens is a model for contemporary viewership. Today’s numbers clearly demonstrate that not only is the show being watched heavily across multiple platforms, but those viewers watch it with urgency and want to be part of the global conversation before the next episode airs.”
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