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Sherlock’s mini episode leads “excited” fans to reveal an intent to view and triples Twitter engagement
The Sherlock mini episode boosted the number of fans saying they were going to watch the Season 3 premiere. It also drove three times the average tweets about Sherlock in the lead-up to its premiere. This demonstrates that innovative and exclusive content can substantially increase interest in a show, creating a new level of engagement and stoking excitement.
Sherlock is a popular British show which released a mini episode eight-days prior to the third series’ premiere, titled ‘Many Happy Returns’. It was produced separately from the third season’s premiere and was only available online. The clip prefigured the return of the assumed-dead Sherlock Holmes, generating anticipation and discussion about his return in the third season. Marvel are employing a similar tactic by releasing a one-shot focusing on the Mandarin character who appeared in Iron Man 3. This short will be available as a DVD bonus feature but has already caused interest among fans deliberating the Mandarin’s place in the ‘Marvel Universe’.
The mini episode has been well-received by both fans and journalists, with over 5.8 million views on the BBC’s official YouTube channel and at least 1.5 million on the BBC iPlayer. This positive reception has been mirrored in the number of fans saying they will watch the premiere on Twitter, which this article will explore.
The mini episode caused an increased number of fans to say they would watch the show:
Sherlock: intent to view by time period
- Intent to view was thirteen times higher on the day of the mini episode than the comparable period on the previous day: when fans watched the mini episode, they said they “couldn’t wait” to see Sherlock return, with this excitement enhancing Sherlock’s social presence
The mini episode caused the largest spike in engagement compared to other shows airing over Christmas:
Sherlock: tweets per day before premiere vs. other shows
- Sherlock was tweeted about three times as often on the day of the mini episode compared to the average day: there were 32,050 Sherlock tweets compared to an average of 9,357 for other days. This shows that the innovative, new content gave fans something to talk about as they revealed their “excitement” for the premiere and began speculating as to how Sherlock could have faked his own death
- The mini episode helped Sherlock drive higher Twitter engagement than Doctor Who and Downton Abbey in the run up to their premieres: this shows the mini episode piqued interest by inciting fans to reveal their anticipation, giving Sherlock an increased social profile
Sample tweets: the “anticipation” caused by the mini episode sustained interest even up to the day before Sherlock’s premiere:
Sherlock’s mini episode was a successful marketing ploy as it provided a fresh impetus for fan discussion who said they were “so excited” for the premiere of series three. This gave Sherlock increased prominence on social media sites and therefore helped to widen interest in the show.
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