Apr 12, 2016


Author: Deep Root Analytics

On Friday, BuzzFeed used the Facebook livestream function to broadcast a watermelon explosion. The stream peaked with 808,000 viewers, and the internet proceeded to explode with hot-takes:

CNBC even ran a “breaking news drill” to cover the exploding watermelon:

The drill produced this compelling lede: “While everyone tries to get millennials to pay attention to live television, BuzzFeed was able to captivate more than 800,000 people at once thanks to some rubber bands and a piece of fruit.” But the hottest of the takes came from Wired, which published a story titled “7 TV Shows with Fewer Viewers than BuzzFeed’s Exploding Watermelon Video” – and paired it with the necessary Twitter snark befitting an online magazine “where tomorrow is realized.”

There are many ways to deconstruct this Wired piece. For example, one could point out their apparent lack of understanding of how TV is measured:

Or one could point out that BuzzFeed is simply replicating content already done on – you guessed it – network TV:


Alternatively, one could point out that 808,000 people out of the 1.6 billion active Facebook users is a very low share – and that American TV only reaches people, well, in America.

And perhaps most obviously, one could argue that Wired produced shows mostly found on premium cable – giving them access to an even smaller subset of Americans than those with access to broadcast TV or basic cable.

But instead, we opted to go a different direction. Given our in-house access to set-top box derived TV ratings, here are 7 TV shows with more viewers than BuzzFeed’s exploding watermelon video:

1. Who the (BLEEP) Did I Marry? on Investigation Discovery. Think exploding watermelons are exciting? On average, about 1,000 more people – or 809,000 viewers – find this weekend programming even more compelling.


2. Daytime re-runs of CSI: Miami on A&E. Our data has, on average, approximately 831,000 viewers tuning in to see old episodes of Horatio Caine.


3. Pretty much any time HGTV airs Property Brothers. Sixteen different timeslot airings of this show reach over 875,000 viewers, from 3am on weekends (878,000) to 7:30pm on weekends (over 3.3 million).


4. Animal Planet’s Monster Squid: The Giant is Real. With over 1 million viewers on average, this documentary delivered a giant audience.


5. Primetime re-runs of Hoarders on Lifetime. Lifetime hoards almost 1.2 million viewers with this primetime programming.


6. CNN Newsroom on (you guessed it) CNN. It turns out that daytime cable news programming is able to produce substantial audiences – CNN’s 9am program brings in 1.3 million viewers nationwide.

7. Fox News’s America’s Newsroom. Not to be outdone, the Fox News counterpart at 9am doubles that audience with 2.6 million viewers on average. Apparently cable news networks don’t need to kill for ratings this big.

To be sure, what BuzzFeed did with the livestream was both innovative and noteworthy, but reactions to breakthroughs in the media industry should be framed with the context of data. At Deep Root Analytics, we have this data and are committed to measuring the way our clients’ key constituencies consume media across screens. And for now, Americans watch much more linear TV than Facebook livestreams.

To learn more about Deep Root Analytics and our innovative media analytics platform, visit www.DeepRootAnalytics.com. Be sure to follow us on Twitter.