Hook’s unique 4D Methodology enables us to uncover insights about a TV programme, situate it within its content landscape, and understand how to power up the strongest elements to better connect with audiences. With many years of experience in the industry, we fully recognise the different business needs and creative aspects guiding programme development and curate each piece of research to maximise its impact across a range of internal clients.

Case Study: Exploring EastEnder’s Place in the Soap Opera Landscape

Objective

EastEnders audience was declining, particularly among heartland viewers. The BBC needed to understand the reasons for this decline and what it could do to re-engage viewers while also ensuring that younger audiences keep tuning into the programme going forward.

Methodology

Over 3 months we utilised social listening to analyse soap viewing in a number of ways. This process helped us understand: reactions to current storylines; the standout characters (both new and recurring) and the reasons they resonated with audiences; where the programme sat within its competitive set (in terms of big moments, tone, and pacing); and the impact of the impending soap awards. Alongside this, we spoke to over 100 soap viewers via our online panel to understand real-time reactions to soaps and choice hierarchy. This was followed by groups and in-home family sessions. The research concluded with a guided ‘meet the audience’ session at the BBC with the EastEnders writing team and teen viewers. This session allowed the writers to put a face on the audience they were writing for and pose their own questions about how the show could remain relevant.

Outcome

The findings were debriefed to the BBC Director of content, the Senior Commissioning team at BBC ONE, the EastEnders producer, and the senior writing team. As a result of our work, the show has undergone significant change in terms of plot direction, characterisation and tone. Understanding the qualities that viewers connected with the show also allowed us to generate clear takeaways for marketing teams, ensuring that they had a clear understanding of why viewers were tuning in each week and how they could best connect with these audiences going forward.