The culmination of Awards Season (capital letters) came with a healthy dose of controversy this year.
They say there's no such thing as bad press, but between Jada's boycott and #OscarsSoWhite (that got a reach of over 20M, FYI), this year's Academy Awards viewership dipped to an 8-year low. Even the buzz around how host Chris Rock was going to address the, um, situation wasn't enough to get people interested.
Where was everybody? Checking Instagram, apparently.
Besides the lack of diversity of the Academy's class of 2016, the second most talked-about thing relating to this year's ceremony was Leo's long path to acquiring his very own gold statue. The public was behind him, as the #OscarForLeo hashtag reached millions on Instagram. Their prayers were heard and Leo got served, at long last. All is now well in the world.
But the suspense of Leo's potential and predicted win didn't seem to be enough to get people in front of their televisions to sit through the notoriously long program, not to mention the interminable acceptance speeches (not everyone is #blessed with Leo's verbal prowess). While millions of us still tuned it, the fact remains that most people appeared to have been canoodling on Insta instead of plopping down in front of the boob tube.
Was it because moviegoers didn't care about this year's films that much? Or perhaps it had something to do with cord-cutting having become more common and people are not tuning into Apple TV to watch network television? Or maybe some folks actually did boycott the ceremony? Whatever the reason, despite viewership ratings being down, ABC Network's Instagram numbers were up. Way up.
Learning Your ABCs
For a company that doesn't really use Instagram that much - it's obviously not a priority for them, seeing as they didn't even post anything on the night of the Oscars, or since, for that matter - the photo-sharing app proves itself useful once again by driving tons of engagement to the @abcnetwork handle, in spite of ABC's passivity.
This tells us a couple of things: that their lack of activity was a great missed opportunity, and that Instagram should actually be on the priority lists of TV networks.
Let's observe what made us draw those conclusions.
The Red Carpet Rules
While the Oscars are there to celebrate outstanding acting performances in the year's most intellectual films (Creed notwithstanding), it wouldn't be right if we didn't talk about - drum roll, please - the gowns.
It's pretty safe to say that the E! channel is quite the social media savvy TV network. They boast a following of 4.9 million (at this time...) on Instagram, post multiple times a day, and encourage conversation around event celeb fodder by having implemented their own unique #ERedCarpet hashtag. Not only is Awards Season like crack for their followers, but it's also a gold mine of content, which gets repurposed across the board, including in their TV specials.
We dug into how @Eonline's Academy Awards content performed on Instagram and what we found came as no big surprise: people care about the celebrity hoopla. A lot.
Whoever's gown you decided to crown, what matters is that we can fully assert that what happens on the red carpet explodes once it reaches the Insta-sphere. That, and all of the Leo memes that broke out post-win.
It's also worth noting that Instagram can really help boost a TV network's presence and round out not only the coverage of punctual events, but also regular programming, as @eonline has proved with their multimillion followers.
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