Monday, May 26, 2014

Spotted Summer 2014 Plans

Yet another regular season is in the books! For those new to the program, this blog always keeps the lights on but transforms quite a bit during the off-season. Nothing below will be all that new to the long-timers, but you may want to give it a read if you've discovered me in the last year. Here are some details about what'll be going on this summer:

Recapping the Regular Season. There's no brand new huge project getting unveiled this summer. There are enough other huge projects ongoing that it will take a substantial amount of time (and posts) getting all of them up to date. This summer will be a test of how much work it takes to maintain the current framework.

War of 18-49. The War is back in business today, with a post each weekday for eleven weeks (not including the annual one-week hiatus after the fifth week). Since the newly eligible class of 2010-11 was pretty bad, there are fewer all-new posts this year, but each week will have at least one all-new post. And this week will kick off with two straight all-new. Most posts are the brief "Updates," grading a veteran show's most recent season. I'll also throw in at least a couple "Flashback" posts revisiting memorable older shows that didn't hit the four-year War of 18-49 standard.

Also this summer, the War of 18-49 ratings tables are getting a makeover. Since I first developed the historical-adjusted stats (A18-49+), I've kinda tacked them onto the War tables wherever I had room, and I think this new layout has a bit more logic/symmetry. The first (blue) table is entirely "raw" data and other general information that should be better for the casual reader/conversation. The second (purple) is all of the historical-adjusted metrics that I personally prefer.

Seas Year Timeslot Avg y2y Lo Hi Results Grade
72013-14Thursday 8:005.07-4%3.86.1detail

Seas Year A18-49+ Label Now y2y Lo Hi Premiere Finale
72013-14 269 megahit5.07 +8% 202 324 292 260

"Now" takes a past season's raw average and adjusts it to a hypothetical world with the same league average as 2013-14. 

The "y2y" in the purple table is a year-to-year trend in A18-49+ (or in Now, if you prefer). In other words, it's a projection of the year-to-year trend if the overall ratings environment had stayed the same from one year to the next.

To accommodate more historical-adjusted stuff, I had to cut some of the year-to-year stats from the old tables. But hopefully it's preferable to be able to compare season lows, season highs, premieres and finales on a historical-adjusted basis across all seasons.

A18-49+. After all the new theme posts last year, the A18-49+ stat largely transitions into "update" mode this year. Much like the War of 18-49, there will be posts recapping the 2013-14 season within one theme, and those will accompany additions to the main theme posts. There will also be at least a couple "all-new" theme posts, and perhaps some new labeling terminology.

Schedules Plus. The fall schedules with A18-49+ numbers will also get updated this summer. As with War and A18-49+, there will be "update" posts focusing on just this year (probably one such post for each day of the week), and then the 2013-14 stuff will be added to the main posts.

Top 10 of the Last 10. Last summer, I took a look at the best performers on a historical-adjusted basis in a bunch of different categories. I'm not redoing/overhauling those posts this year, but I think I will do one or two posts that quickly point out which 2013-14 shows would have made it onto those lists.

Starting late this week or early next, there should be at least one post among the above three categories (A18-49+ theme / Schedules Plus / Top 10) each week.

Summer Ratings. Some other sites love going on and on in daily summer coverage about what a horrrrrrible, boring time this is for broadcast TV. Yes, it's boring, but it's also very boring hearing how bored you are. So we keep it short and sweet.

Daily. As usual during the summer here, daily ratings coverage is not a high priority. Except on days with a major data point, they won't go up till after finals are released, and Friday/Saturday (plus Sunday for a few weeks) will be saved for one Weekend Roundup post. I'll be out of town at least a couple times, and in those cases I won't do daily posts at all, doubling up on each day of the next week. One positive: cable shows will be included in the tables, which is a bigger deal now than when I started it in the spring.

SpotVault/True Top 25/True Power Rankings/Climate Center. New this summer: I'll carry abbreviated versions of the Weekly True Power Rankings and Climate Center into the summer. It'll probably just be one post apiece; the Rankings will have five big lists (one per network) with all their summer originals, while the Climate Center will probably just have what's currently in "Basics" plus some of what's in "Networks." Look for these late next week, when the first full summer week is in the books.

As with the daily ratings, these won't get updated during my out-of-town weeks, but they should update as normal the rest of the weeks. Weekly True Top 25's will usually not happen during the summer, but I may sprinkle in a couple just to give a picture of the overall broadcast landscape.

The Question. There will be a summer "mini-season" of the prediction game The Question. There were 12 games last summer, and I expect very close to that this summer. This will mostly stick to big returning shows and series premieres that have somewhat decent timeslots. A lot of middling stuff will be left out, which may be a disappointment to the hardcore players, but I want to minimize the stress and focus on other stuff during the lower-trafficked time of year.


Accountability Posts. Last summer, I took a look at how all of the regular season predictions went in the First Two Weeks and Best Case/Worst Case features. Those should return for the 2013-14 editions at some point this summer. I didn't get to The Question edition of this idea last summer, but that may happen this year (and will probably be a bit easier with a previous season as a comparison point).

True Updates. I'm planning on working on the timeslot metric True a bit more this summer than last, as I've noticed several issues in the last year. I'm not really planning on completely overhauling the formula, but I may take a step back and look at some of the fundamental parts of the formula that haven't changed in awhile. There might be some one-shot features that come out of this research. I also might do an "Accountability" post of sorts for the True metric, comparing its consistency across the season with raw 18-49 ratings.

As I said at the top, there are no brand new huge projects this summer, but there will be a couple such prospects in the works behind the scenes for the next regular season. I won't say any more than that. It's not about being secretive, it's about managing expectations. I genuinely don't know if these ideas will actually produce anything useful. But if nothing else, they may (like the True updates) lead to some one-shot by-products this summer. Keep an eye out!


Spot said...

The plan looks good as always, I'm a big fan of season review style articles.

You mention that an accountability post for The Question may or may not happen, so I just wanted to say that if reader interest is a factor in your decision then I would very much be interested in reading it. But if its more based on you struggling to find time then I understand if you don't end up getting around to it.

Spot said...

Well if you don't get around to writing an Accountability post for The Question, I'll probably end up writing one as a comment again. But only if someone asks like David Howell did that time. :-)

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