Choosing Wisely – Big Screen vs Little Screen

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Do soaps drive more engagement than Feature Films?


This week’s insights are a perspective on where audience attention lies when it comes to feature films versus soap operas. We hope to provide you with some helpful data to go forward with, enabling you to give another push towards audience engagement.


Soap operas have been a tradition at home since the late 1930s. The image of a family crowded around the tv, engrossed in extraordinary stories and outlandish plot twists is something many households could relate to in years gone by… but what is their standing now against the Big Screen in terms of readership? We look at insights provided from DMG Media’s over the past three years to bring some clarity to the matter.


Readersight: data analysis big screen vs small screen

Readersight: Figure 1 Big Screen vs Small Screen


When we look at Figure one, we can see a huge push from towards soap operas and the discourse surrounding them through 2015 and 2016. Beneath this we can see the statistics for published articles around cinema, with less journalistic resource effort. In 2016 Soap Operas and Hollywood were in two very different financial states, e.g. Hollywood earned revenue of around $11.17 billion, whereas in Ireland TV3 suffered a steady decline in revenue.  With this knowledge you would not be alone in thinking that, besides streaming sites like Netflix who make up a huge percentage of viewership in general, movies and Hollywood would be the focal point of reader attention.


Readersight: data analysis big screen vs small screen

Readersight: Figure 2 Big Screen vs Small Screen


However, things get interesting when we zoom out to include the previous year. Evidently, there was a dynamic shift in direction, in the previous year, it was articles surrounding feature films that got the biggest push, but perhaps due to lower engagement rates they began pushing more articles on Soap Operas to test the readership engagement. When analyzing your data and listening to what your audience is saying, it’s important to react to what the insights are telling you. Evidently, soap operas worked better for, and they maintained this strategy for the next two years.


Readersight: data analysis big screen vs small screen

Readersight: Figure 3 Big Screen vs Small Screen


Judging by the above Figure 3, it’s clear why made this decision. With both swayings occasionally, the consistently better results are coming through when posts about soap operas are given more focus. If you use your insights and data as a base for what content you are pushing, this can build more of a connection with your audience which in turn generates a better return of investment.

All in all, Soap Operas are driving consistent engagement and ROI over Cinema related content within the Irish market for DMG Media’s, and the analysis above supports their editorial decision in doing so.

One final note of interest we found when we looked further into the data insights: when it comes to cinema, nostalgic pieces are what gained the most interaction. An example of a Nostalgic piece being “where are the cast of Footloose now”, where you are tapping into an audience member’s past and relating to their history. We admit, at Readersight we’ve clicked on quite a few of these ourselves during the making of this piece.

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