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Showtime's Dexter Becomes Hot Trending Topic on Social Media

DexterTV networks are increasingly leveraging social media to increase the popularity of shows, especially over the last one year. From reviving ratings to growing audiences, the makers of TV shows are rapidly going social; some at the script stage itself. Whether it is Ashton Kutcher building up buzz prior to his recent debut on 'Two and a Half Men' or Showtime releasing teaser videos of the latest season of Dexter on YouTube, television networks have been successfully driving viewership through networking channels.

Dexter Goes Social

When American television drama series Dexter was first introduced in 2006, little did Showtime know that the Miami-based blood splatter analyst would send the popularity charts soaring over the next few years. Although aired only in the US for the first few series, by the time Dexter hit season 5, it had an exponential fan following internationally as well. While YouTube was one of the popular channels where fans could watch Dexter, the official Dexter Facebook page and Twitter handle soon followed. Here's why we think Dexter is one of the hot trending topics on social media:
Dexter Facebook App

Tracking the Social Media Buzz

Following the enormous success of the previous seasons, Showtime's decision to renew Dexter for an additional 24 episodes has sparked considerable online buzz among fans. Analysis by the Brand Monitor Team at Position² (for the time period between 29th October 2011 and 28th November 2011) shows that conversation volumes peaked on 27th November 2011 (27,362), with anticipation building up for Season 6, Episode 9: Get Geller, which aired the next day.
Dexter - Social Media Conversation Volume This was followed by 17,025 posts on November 28th, after the much anticipated 9th episode was aired. A significant number of conversations were centered on Colin Hanks who plays the character of Travis Marshall.
Dexter - Sample Tweets

Top Media Volume and Sentiment Breakdown

Dexter - Top Media Volume Breakup

  • Discussion forums were abuzz with conversations and recorded the highest volume at 39%.
  • This was followed by blogs, which registered 28% conversation volumes. In addition to the popular Dexterblog.com, the growing fan following for the series saw several other blogging platforms active with discussions, opinions and spoilers.
  • Dexter - Sample TweetThe conversations on Twitter, which recorded 20% volumes, included excited fans talking about the renewal of the Dexter series. The popular hashtags used included #Dexter, #darkpassenger, #colinhanks, #showtime and #DDK among others.
  • The tonality of conversations was largely neutral at 68%. Position²'s analysis of the posts shows that the majority of the buzz came from Dexter fans giving a detailed description of each episode.
  • The positive conversations, at 26%, ranged from fans thanking Showtime for the renewal to people simply saying how much their loved the series.
  • 6% of the conversations were negative.

Dexter - Sentiment Breakup

Demographics

Top Country Breakdown

Dexter - Heat Map - World

  • Unsurprisingly, the maximum buzz, at 73%, was registered in the USA. Dexter, being an American drama series, has its biggest fan base in America.
  • This was followed by UK and Australia at 6% and 5% respectively. We attribute the gradual boost in international audience to social media, which contributed to taking the Dexter series beyond geographical boundaries.

Gender and Age Distribution

  • Dexter - Age and Gender BreakupAt 55%, the Dexter series appealed slightly more to the male audience when compared to women (45%).
  • The 20-35 age bracket, at 54%, comprised of the most enthusiastic Dexter fans.
  • However, the rest of the demographic, especially the 31-50 and 51-65 made up for a marginal fan following at 9% each.
  • The <20 age bracket accounted for 16% of the conversations. This could be because of the graphical content, that may have prompted parents to restrict the <16 audience from watching the show.

Conclusion

First broadcasted in October 2006, Jeff Lindsay's Darkly Dreaming Dexter, was converted into a TV series around the same time when social media was still green behind the ears. Over the years, as social media evolved from something that was a mere fad to a serious networking and marketing medium, the Dexter series simultaneously amassed a loyal fan following. With the rise of social media, it was only a matter of time before the TV viewing process went social. Reviews of popular TV shows are no longer restricted to newspapers or TV guides. Our research shows that today's social-savvy audiences exchange updates, post reviews and discuss shows via Facebook and Twitter among other channels; all this while watching the shows. Dexter is the perfect example of how a drama series, which was gaining popularity among its offline audience, soon became one of the hottest online trending topics of today; to such an extent that people actually felt the need for a real-life Dexter following the acquittal of Casey Anthony. As the above analysis shows, USA registered the maximum buzz. However, with the series recently being introduced in other countries, we expect to see significant boost in conversation volumes and online fan following. Although Twitter is usually the preferred medium to exchange information and updates, in this case, blogs and discussions forums were slightly more active than the microblogging channel. This could be because of fans' enthusiasm to share episode-by-episode updates and describe in detail what they felt about each episode; something that Twitter's 140 character limit does not allow. While the male to female ratio of Dexter fans currently has a 10% difference, we are curious to see if the introduction of Colin Hanks has any affect on this; especially with most of the female audience tweeting how good he looks on the show. What we also will be watching out for is the social media buzz surrounding the next two seasons of Dexter. Although the storyline has not been revealed yet, fans are already speculating about the next series. The Dexter series is an example of how TV networks are incorporating social media as a vital part of the production process, rather than an after-thought. Even before shows hit the air, TV networks are designing and introducing online campaigns in a move to build-up curiosity and generate buzz. Today's TV execs trying to bridge the gap between online and offline know that social media has become a vital part of any television program; and in our opinion, Dexter is one of the success stories that shows how it's done.

Team Position²

Position2 is an innovative digital marketing agency that accelerates demand through integrated Content Marketing, Paid Acquisition, and Marketing Technology solutions. Our demand acceleration solutions map the buyer's journey across multiple touch points such as search, social, mobile, media, and email. These integrated campaigns are powered by cutting-edge content creation, digital advertising, web design/development, marketing automation, and analytics. We serve hundreds of clients ranging from VC funded startups to Fortune 500 multinational firms. Our 200-member team is based in Silicon Valley and Bangalore and consists of marketing gurus, engineers, data scientists, writers, and designers. Founded in 2006, Position2 is backed by Accel Partners.