Geronimo!! (or Allons-y if you prefer)
Welcome back Who-vians! We are so happy to be able to write about our Time Lord again. The Day is saved, new countdown to Christmas Special is now on and the weekend celebration was just fantastic, as The Ninth Doctor would have described it. We had so much fun counting down the days and writing short description for every incarnation that now we seriously consider preparing something more about the companions or the monsters. Of course, don’t be alarmed, Vanadian Avenue will not suddenly turn into Whovian Avenue. We have plenty of topics to cover, although we love our show and it is mighty tempting to return to cover it – just for the sheer fun of it. Now, since we mention it, The Monstrous Monster Encyclopaedia entry just before Christmas sounds like a splendid idea. Just think: Daleks, Cybermen, Time Lords, Weeping Angels, Whisper Men, The Silence, Great Intelligence and Zygons under your own Christmas tree. That would be a nice Christmas Mayhem in the making.
Anyway, if you have been traveling in the TARDIS among the stars, took a holiday to Spain to scuba dive or just spent the last two weeks living under a rock, please take a look at the previous entries about The Doctor. You can find links to all three entries below:
As you know, The Doctor likes when a good plan comes together. All he needs is a crazy idea, a bit of luck, some spare parts, his sonic screwdriver and another world is saved. Now, Rita and Mal are delighted when a good marketing campaign brings a lot of attention, recognition and money. We have to admit, the marketing team hired to prepare the entire advertising and PR for “The Day of the Doctor” worked miracles. It is another recent example how a successful campaign should look like. The fruits of their labour are sweet and truly amazing – Doctor Who 50 years celebration is regarded as one of the most successful promotional campaigns ever prepared in the history of British entertainment business. Obviously, the job is much more easier when you are promoting beloved s-f series that become a part of British heritage in comparison to life insurance policies or miraculous sandwich makers. Well known titles can promote themselves with just a little help from the marketing co-ordinators. However, it is not always the case. A good idea for promotion and hard working professional team are only the half of real success. We have seen great projects going down the drain even if the marketing campaign was flawless and the people behind it worked really hard. A delicate balance must be established between professional work and the enthusiasm of target audience. Without fans involvement, any campaign would simply fail. Who-vians have not only enthusiasm and desire to see the series progressing, but also love and the deepest respect for creators, writers and actors. Combined forces of marketing team and Doctor Who lovers made everything possible. The Earth’s protector and the last Time Lord is now the hottest thing since the sliced bread – and the whole planet enjoys being conquered. This gives us a perfect opportunity to take a closer look at the cult show from a marketing perspective. We entitled this blog “After and Before” and hope to address the dynamic changes taking place after the screening of “The Day of the Doctor “and before the new TV series that is set to debut in the third quarter of 2014.
AFTER (“THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR”)
Now let’s take a look at the 50 years celebration episode in numbers. Statistics are very important as they give you a clear picture how well the campaign went. We know that The Day of the Doctor was honoured with an official certificate from Guinness World Record as “the world’s largest ever simulcast of a TV drama”. The certificate has been handed to Steve Moffatt, Jenna Coleman and Matt Smiths on Sunday, 24th of November during Doctor Who Weekend gathering in London. But that’s just the beginning. Few days after the premiere, official revenue numbers started pouring in and oh boy, they were impressive. Seven days later everybody knew that “The Day of the Doctor” was a tremendous success – proving once again that Doctor Who is something more than just your average s-f TV show. From the first episode released back in 1963, the series broke stereotypes, introduced bold ideas and provided intelligent entertainment for whole family. Those who doubted that the Doctor can captivate the attention and hearts of millions of viewers in XXI century were highly mistaken. The Doctor is alive, kicking and more popular than ever.
1.TV – The Day of The Doctor aired simultaneously in 94 countries including .Viewers could watch it on BBC1 (in the UK), BBC America (USA, Canada and Mexico) and BBC Entertainment or local equivalent (the rest of the world). The broadcast was available through regular TV (basic option), 3DTV (a special 3D screen was needed though) and online (through BBC Iplayer). In the UK, the Four Doctor Combo starring David Tennant, Matt Smith, John Hurt and Tom Baker gathered stunning 10.2 million viewers on 23rd of November, becoming the highest watched show during the weekend. Additional 2.6 million viewers saw the repeated episode on Sunday afternoon, bringing the weekend viewing figures to nearly 13 millions.
In USA, the official figures for 75-minute episode were at 2.4 million viewers on 23rd of December and rose to 3.6 millions after Sunday repeat. It was the biggest viewing success for BBC America ever and the cable channel is hoping to beat it with the highly anticipated Christmas episode. This is an excellent result taking into consideration that due to time zones and time differences, American fans were not watching the episode in the evenings which usually is the most preferable (and the most profitable) time slot. The Day of the Doctor was aired at 14:50 pm in the afternoon on the east cost and at 11:50 am in California.
In Australia, nearly 700.000 viewers turned to ABC1 on Saturday and another 1.3 million of people saw the repeat on Sunday night bringing the total count to nearly 2 millions. Canadian results were slightly smaller – almost 1,4 millions of people watched the episode over the weekend on Canadian Channel called Spice. This was enough to become the channel’s largest audience ever. Although BBC has not released any overall officials statistics for the premiere, some newspapers like The Guardian and New York Times estimate that the final count could be something around 20 millions of viewers around the world. Steve Moffett has called the results as “stellar” and it’s hard not to agree with him.
2. IPLAYER – For a moment, we intended to add the online viewing statistics to the TV ones but we have changed our minds. Watching movies online on your computer or laptop feels kind of similar, yet it is something completely different. Digital watching becomes more and more popular with tablets, smartphones, phablets and other portable devices that allows users to access the Internet from any place on our globe. And while the TV is still the dominating force on the market, the number of people who no longer have a TV at home is also growing rapidly by each year. In the end, we decided to present the online official figures separately.
In the UK alone, 1.5 millions of people logged to BBC IPlayer to watch the “Day of the Doctor” being broadcast online. This broke another record as now the Doctor Who anniversary episode is the most watched movie/drama ever aired online on BBC 1 website. That’s not all. The Doctor has also beaten the previous record set by the opening ceremony of The London Olympic Games (1.2 million of viewers) just on Saturday and when we add the numbers from reruns on Sunday (additional 500.000 viewers), we receive a stunning results of 2 millions people choosing the digital player over the traditional TV.
Generally speaking, The Internet community has been very good for the Doctor. Anniversary episode reached number one on Apple’s iTunes purchase list (in the US) and Amazon’s television chart in the UK. Based on sales (sadly we do not have exact figures from Amazon or iTunes), it ranked as the most downloaded episode of 2013 for both BBC 1 and BBC America. Don’t forget that “The Day of The Doctor” is not the only video available through IPlayer. Two minisodes (mini episodes) released before 23rd of November entitled “The Night of the Doctor” (19th of November) and “The Last Day (Fall of Arcadia)”, released on 22nd of November, have been seen more than three million times. “ The Night of The Doctor” is probably the most popular thanks to its star, the iconic Paul McGann who reprised his role as The Eight Doctor. Paul made such a huge impression on viewers that a petition on Change.org has been started in order to force Steve Moffatt to create a spin off series dedicated to The Eight Doctor. It has been signed so far by more than 17.000 people and we hope, it could result in at least one more web episode being filmed.
You can sign the petition here:
Other Doctor Who related programs also had a fantastic online viewings: Peter Davison’s “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot” (starring Davison himself, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann) have been seen by more than 700.000 people and Mark Gatis biopic “An Adventure in Space and Time” by additional 600.000 viewers.
3. CINEMA – After a very successful run on TV and on the Internet, it’s time to take a look at the financial results from the cinemas. “The Day of the Doctor” have been screened all over the world, but only 15 countries bought the rights to show the movie in 3D versions. They were: Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.
In USA, the 75 minute episode was screened in 660 theatres as Monday event only. Tickets were quite expensive (15 USD per one) but that didn’t stop the fans from buying them at the speed of light. While most venues were sold out within two or three hours after the tickets became available, some cinemas claimed that it took about 15-20 minutes for all tickets to be gone. We cannot verify their claims, but if they are true, then the Time Lord can certainly feel proud. The average ticket revenue per cinema was $7,155, with 320.000 tickets sold in general. The official box office results for American market now stand at $4.8millions (that also includes limited Saturday screening that grossed to $208.000). This amazing result placed “The Day of the Doctor” at number two at the box office, just behind The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It is worth noting that the second installment in the Hunger Games Trilogy had a much wilder release (4,163 cinemas) but made considerable less money per screen on average ($2,623).
In the UK, the anniversary episode grossed to £1.8 million and was placed at number 3 at the box office behind the Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Gravity (starring Hollywood giants George Clooney and Sandra Bullock). Whovians living in Australia and New Zealand haven’t disappointed either: 70,000 fans made it to the cinema to watch Doctor Who on Sunday and the cinema box office takings totaled AU$1.54m.
Official worldwide cinema revenue brought the BBC nearly $10.2 million (£6.25m) , which is an excellent result for just a several days of screenings. Amanda Hill, the chief brands officer for BBC Worldwide commented on the huge success: “We organized the global cinema events to give the fans an opportunity to get together and enjoy a unique moment in Doctor Who history as one. It also gave those same fans who didn’t have 3D TVs [at home] a chance to see the special in its biggest and most amazing form. We had no idea that there would be such a demand at the global box office. This demonstrates how huge the show remains in the UK and how far it’s come internationally over the last few years.” Very well said.
4.TWITTER – Celebrities love Twitter. Almost all actors, producers and crew members involved in the making of “The Day of the Doctor” have an official Twitter account or are represented by an agency or fanclub. We are attaching a small list of Twitter accounts below, just in case if you’d like to follow them. Now, one thing you need to know about Twitter is that they are very methodical and count every hashtag, tweet and re-tweet. Weekly updates are published on company’s official account in the form of a screenshot or a very neat looking chart. Twitter can predict average number of tweets for every occasion: Christmas, important event, international tragedy, elections or even a TV drama premieres and season finals. According to Twitter, a popular TV show (drama category includes crime, soap, daily soap operas, s-f, police procedures, political fiction and medical genres) gathers around 20-25.000 tweets while the episode is still broadcast on the telly and then roughly additional 20.000 tweets after the episodes has ended. If the episode ends in a cliff-hanger (just like a mid season finale of “The Walking Dead”), the number of tweets can rise to 60-70.000, which is considered an extremely good result and guarantee a place in Drama Top Ten . Well established and acclaimed series like Newsroom, Scandal, Broadwalk Empire , Dexter, Glee, House MD, Downton abbey and Broadchurch (starring David Tennant) receive even greater number of mentions – between 100.000 and 260.000.
Those numbers are nothing compared to what happened on Twitter when the Doctor arrived on November 23rd. We will be brief: it was like a supernova had exploded in the same heart of the Twitterverse, sending all other titles and mentions into the black hole. Doctor Who fans have sent nearly 3000 tweets per minute during the morning and afternoon and 12.939 tweets per minute after the show ended. There was 442,692 tweets in general, 227,147 additional tweets with the official hash tag #SaveTheDay (that excludes 61,319 times when SaveTheDay has been mentioned during the episode’s run), nearly 30.000 #DoctorWho, and 35.000 with #TheDayofTheDoctor. The most retweeted message of the evening (shared 4,171 times to be exact) came from the official Doctor Who Account, @bbcdoctorwho, and was very brief. One single word, nine letters and a galaxy of emotions. Yep, you have guessed it, it was “Geronimo!”
Right after the Day of the Doctor has ended, we tuned onto Twitter to find that “Save the Day” and “Gallifrey Falls No More” were trending worldwide. There were thousands of tweets coming from all corners of the web and we have to admit it felt like taking part into some extraordinary. Also, we weren’t a bit surprised when few days after airing of the Anniversary episode a new planet has been discovered and a petition was started to call it Gallirey. Twitter immediately picked up the story and fans started to send each other the link. If you still haven’t signed it, please do Doctor a favor and add your name to it 😉
Darth Vader would have said not to underestimate the power of the dark side, but we say, don’t underestimate the power of hash tags. Even the Doctors knows it. In his own words: ” “It’s 2013. Hashtags are a big deal!”. Remember about that!
Doctor Who on Twitter:
BBC UK Doctor Who official Twitter: @bbcdoctorwho
BBC America Doctor Who account: @DoctorWho_BBCA
Peter Davison – @PeterDavison5
Sylvester McCoy – @SylvesterMcCoy
Colin Baker – @SawbonesHex
Paul McGann – @pauljmcgann
Peter Capaldi – @CapaldiOfficial
David Tennant – @David_Tennant
John Hurt – @WithJohnHurt
Billie Piper – @billiepiper
Freema Agyeman – @FreemaOfficial
Jenna Louis Coleman – @officialJ_L_C
Steven Moffat – @Steven_moffat (not updated since June)
Karen Gillian – @KarenGillan2
Arthur Darvill – @RattyBurvil
5. DVD/BLUERAY – After the premiere of “The Day of The Doctor” pre-orders for DVD and BluRay went through the roof. In 24 hours, the official DVD that was marked for UK release on 2nd of December became number one on ITunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, HMV, Waterstones and WHSmith’s and other online stores. According to official charts released for each e-shop, the sale of the DVD (and now BluRay released on 10th of December) is still going great: “The Day of The Doctor” is currently at number 3 for HMV, number 5 for WHSmith’s, number 6 for Waterstones and Amazon, and number 10 for Barnes and Noble. The anniversary episode is also highly ranked at Christmas pre-order list according to play.com (number3).
Official sales statistic will be released after the new year and we will try to update this column as soon as we get them.
We have picked up our copies last week and the quality is amazing. The DVD/BluRay contains feature length anniversary episode, 2 mini-episodes including the explosive Night of the Doctor starring Paul McGann, Doctor Who Explained, Behind the lens and more. We love the fact that “The Night of the Doctor” is now advertised with a special sticker on the cover. Well, better see for yourself:
BEFORE (“THE TIME OF THE DOCTOR”)
With 18 days left till Christmas Day, there is enough of time for BBC to plan their next marketing campaign. If you follow BBC Entertainment and BBC America social network channels, you can easily identify that they are slowly building interest in the last episode with Matt Smith by using a very subtle techniques that experts call ” velvet punches”.
Velvet punch or a punch in a velvet glow reminds us a little bit of a drip feeding (thanks Matt for the wonderful description!) Basically, you deliver a tiny bit of news to your subscribers or viewers. For example you can “accidentally” leak a name of a new character or a new foe in an interview with a cast or makers, unexpectedly publish new picture or a screen or just post a new hash tag revealing something else that’s truly important. Dropping small bombs and heating the atmosphere requires commitment and persistence, but it will pay off big time in the end.
Please take a look at the brilliant short videos below. The first one is an innocent looking good bye video with Matt Smith and the other is classic teaser trailer. Excellent work you have to admit!
Matt Smith has thanked his fans with this video (uploaded on 21 st of June 2013, on the last day of shooting):
BBC1 posted a new Christmas program trailer that features four new scenes from the upcoming Christmas Special episode.
It will be broadcasted on 25th of December at 7:30 PM GMT:
(UPDATE) As time goes by, you can add more and more details, in small doses of course! BBC team are experts at creating artistic hints and red flags in form of new screenshots with the most important quotes from the trailer. Just 4 days ago, they have released a new, longer trailer that stands at 30 seconds. Releasing the video sent shock waves through Facebook and Twitter: fans analyzed every uttered word, debated at the correct grammar and even few tears have been shed upon hearing the Daleks announcing the Doctor’s regeneration. New trailer has now almost 500.000 views on BBC America’s Youtube channel:
Below you can find examples of screenshots with the quotes that are posted each day at Doctor Who Official Facebook. Viva for simple but effective marketing!
You can see 16 high res pictures from Christmas Special here:
If screens or daily pictures with a quote are not enough, you can try a different technique. Also a slow-teasing torture, but at least you give them something to read (but don’t expect them to reveal anything important, they are just talk, no action!). Every few days, BBC has been releasing short interviews with cast and producers. Topics discussed varies from direct spoilers, famous last words, plot ideas and plans for the future. You can read several of the interviews on the official blog. Just look at the titles:
Interview with Steve Moffat:
Interview with Jenna Coleman:
Interview with Matt Smith:
Interview with Orla Brady:
Be assured, the closer we get to the 25th of December, the hotter the marketing campaign will get. You will see a new hash tags being introduced, new pictures released and new detailed leaked. Twitter, Facebook and other social sites will be going crazy (after all the Doctor is a madman in a box!) and everybody will have a great Christmas. So sit back and relax. Another countdown has begun!
And if you cannot wait, here’s some turkey to sate your appetite!
Have a great time!
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz