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Gamers, Liberals, Male Audiences Gravitated to ‘GLOW,’ Social Media Data Finds

Variety logo Variety 7/12/2017 Erin Nyren
© Provided by Variety

GLOW,” one of Netflix’s most recent original shows, debuted to overwhelmingly positive critics’ ratings — an appreciation that was mirrored on social media, possibly indicating a bright future for the series.

Of course it’s hard to know for sure, since Netflix does not disclose ratings info. But what is known is that the female wrestling show — which has not yet been renewed for a second season — overperformed in social media engagement during its premiere weekend in a variety of different audience segments, according to a new report from audience insight and social media tracking company Fizziology.

Ben Carlson, co-CEO of Fizziology, said the performance statistics are derived based on a benchmark created by indexing the social media engagement of 40 over-the-top (OTT) shows across all streaming platforms including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Social media users are self-identified into segments. “If you identify yourself as a Marvel or DC fan in your bio, you’re going to be a hardcore comic fan,” he said. “So we’ve created these personas based on self-identified terms.”

“GLOW” overperformed the most in the comic book fan segment, with 95% engagement above the predicted benchmark. The report detailed that comic book fans interacted with Lin-Manuel Miranda and MMA columnist Ben Fowlkes, who both tweeted favorably about the show, and showed an appreciation for Marc Maron, who plays director Sam Sylvia.

Gamers came in second, with a 67% overperformance, and liberals third, with 57%. LGBT audiences outstripped the benchmark by 47%, while over-50 audiences and parents also showed somewhat more engagement than the average, by about 30%. Carlson said that the parent category did see an uptick in engagement over the two weeks since “GLOW” premiered, however.

“GLOW” also fared far better in the diversity and continuation of its engagement than another female-centric Netflix experiment, “Girlboss.” The Netflix original based on Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso’s autobiography recently hit the chopping block, and also showed less engagement across the same segments “GLOW” overperformed in during its premiere weekend. However, “Girlboss” did garner wider female interest — 74% of its engagement was from a female audience compared to “GLOW’s” 40%.

“‘GLOW’ has continued to generate more conversation in two weeks since its premiere on a daily basis,” Carlson said. “Roughly 300 times more conversation on a daily basis than ‘GirlBoss’ at the same point in time during its release.”

Social media figures aren’t infallible as a substitute for ratings data, however. Netflix’s recently and controversially canceled “Sense8” had an engaged fan following on social media, but according to creator Lana Wachowski, “the numbers had always been challenging.” The show had a hefty budget estimated at $9 million per episode.

“We do believe (social media stats) to be indicative of the audience’s interests,” Carlson said. “A lot of the reason we’re focused on how diverse the audience spread is, is because of how we think Netflix would value some shows more than others as a subscription service.”

Carlson posited that “Sense8” could have been servicing an audience that was already engaged with the platform, therefore lowering its value to Netflix. He added that Netflix likely wants to bring new and diverse audiences onto its platform, which is why a show like “GLOW” that appeals to more sectors of the audience may be better valued by the streaming giant.

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