Open letter to the people of FOX TV the Netherlands – Concerning the promotion of This Is Us

Written by M.

As many of you know by now, I am a huge fan of This Is Us. It is the biggest hit of this season and it’s well deserved. It is such a hit that it has been renewed for a second season and not just that, but also a third season! Something that doesn’t happen that much for a freshman series. So understandably I was really excited to hear that This Is Us was coming to the Netherlands. I mean, I already stalked my contacts of the broadcast group SBS to get them to buy this series. However it was not them who wailed in this big fish, it was FOX. And I get why they would want it, since FOX isn’t once of the major channels on Dutch TV, not yet at least. This could be their biggest hit and could mean a lot of (new) viewers, if they back it up with the right marketing campaign.

And that is where it all went wrong. Wrong? How wrong could they be with such an amazing self-selling series? Anyone who has seen it, is hooked. First, let’s take a look at the numbers. Now we do have to remember that FOX is a small channel but I think you’ll get the idea. Last Tuesday night the This Is Us premiered at 22.00 hrs. Right before that was a new episode of Empire and immediately after was Nashville. Now I’m not sure if Nashville was a new episode of a rerun, but all episodes have been on Netflix for quite some time, especially since FOX is in the middle of season 2. This Is Us scored a total viewer ratings of 25.000, an audience share of 0,2 and a market share of 0,5. Empire had 48.000 viewers and scored 0,3 on audience and 0,8 on market share. When Nashville started right after This Is Us, the viewers came back, to 30.000 viewers, an audience share of 0,2 and the market share went up to 0,9. Seriously not something you’d expect from premiering series, that was the biggest hit of the season.
For those who had missed it on Tuesday, could catch the repeat last night, again at 22.00 hrs. This time it had a lead in from the latest episode of Prison Break and this surely did This Is Us (a little) good. This time there were 46.000 viewers, an audience share of 0,3 and market share of 0,8. But compared to Prison Break at 21.00 hrs., 241.00 viewers, audience share of 1,5 and market share of 3,9, it’s nothing. Looking at these rating I am bumped, This Is Us should have scored better.

So why am I so eager to blame the marketing campaign? Well that is because there was NO marketing campaign. None whatsoever. It’s like they totally forgot that This Is Us was scheduled to premiere this week. Simply take a look at their channels Facebook account. The first mention of This Is Us was only last Saturday! 4 Days before the show started! It only got 3 mentions since then and one of them was shared with Prison Break! Speaking of Prison Break, the marketing campaign behind this series is huge! FOX started promoting this since February 25th, five and a half weeks before it started! There was a Prison Break booth at Comic Con and just last week alone the series was mentioned 12 times on FOX’s Facebook page. Now that just doesn’t seem fare! Especially, since Prison Break already has a huge fan base, while This Is Us is totally new. I’m not stupid, I know Prison Break is a FOX original and will get a bigger marketing campaign than any acquisitions. But if you can’t promote a major big new series as This Is Us, than why schedule it to premiere in the same week as Prison Break? It’s not like it’s the beginning of the season, it’s freaking April! But no they had to premiere it in the same week and all they could come up with to promote it was the NBC’s promo, adding the tagline ‘Drama, humor and the right crazy group of people’ and a tacky gif of a shirtless Kevin saying that that is a reason to watch. Seriously? Have you guys not watched this show? Kevin is hardly ever shirtless, expect for in the first episode. Crazy group of people? How about a loving group of people (since you don’t want to give away that they’re a family), all with their own problems and dilemma’s. Or if you really want to throw away any input of your own and copy of others, use the tagline of IMDb ‘Follows a unique ensemble, as their paths cross and their life stories intertwine, from sharing the same birthday, to so much more than anyone would expect.’ or that of TV.com ‘The show follows a bunch of people with the same birthday. It starts with each of them turning 36 and shows us how they all intertwine in everybody else’s lives.’. You could even mention that it’s from the writers and producers of Crazy, Stupid Love or mention the incredible actors that are in this series. Instead they did nothing. So that why I blame the marketing campaign, sounds fair now, doesn’t it.

So dear people of FOX, please pay attention to when you let a brand new series premiere. Give credit where credit is due. So give the biggest hit of the year the right attention, so that it can grow to be hit here as well. Because let’s be honest, you guys want to be a major channel and this is not the way to get there.

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