Internet chatter can help predict hit TV shows!

Bill Carter of NY Times reports:

A year ago, executives at the media-buying agency Initiative Media, conducting what they called a buzz survey to try to determine which network television series had a chance to break out as the new season commenced, stumbled on some data that left them scratching their heads.A new series the executives had all expected would have little chance of success – because it was an intense drama, scheduled at the early hour of 8 p.m., on a network nobody much was watching anyway – was suddenly the topic of excited chatter on Internet sites. The new drama on ABC was called "Lost."

These surveys, which use personal and phone interviews, focus groups and Internet chat-room analyses, ask people to list new shows in terms of how aware they are of them and how strongly they intend to watch them (at least once).

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