Jun 6, 2023 - Economy

Media's "Succession" obsession

Coverage of select top-rated show finales
Data: Memo; Note: Readership is defined as the number of unique visitors to an online article in the first seven days of its publication. Articles were pulled from a representative sample of 83 national, business and technology publications; Table: Axios Visuals

The media's obsession with HBO's hit series "Succession" drew outsized coverage of the show that was disproportionate to reader interest, according to new data.

Why it matters: While there's no question "Succession" was a huge hit, the countless spoilers, cast interviews and interpretations of the series may have been driven more by the media's obsession with its own industry rather than consumer interest.

Details: Data from Memo, a media analysis firm that uses artificial intelligence to monitor online article engagement, found that the "Succession" series finale drew a disproportionate amount of media coverage relative to its readership and compared to other major TV series whose season finales occurred in the last month.

  • Memo measured the number of articles written about some of the most-watched TV series from the 2022-2023 TV season in the past 30 days (excluding "Yellowstone" and sporting events) and compared that data to "Succession."
  • Unlike the other four shows in the top five most-watched scripted series of the season, the "Yellowstone" finale didn't occur in the last 30 days and couldn't be accurately used as a comparison. (It's also worth noting that "Succession" had its series finale, not just a season finale.)
  • The data found that "Succession" was covered six times more than any other show analyzed, but saw the second lowest average readership of that coverage.

Be smart: The top five most-watched scripted TV series during the 2022-2023 season were Paramount's "Yellowstone," CBS' "NCIS," "FBI" and "Young Sheldon," and NBC's "Chicago Fire," per Variety.

  • With the exception of "Yellowstone," which was the only nonsports show to draw more than 11 million viewers on average per week during the season, each show averaged more than 9 million viewers weekly.
  • A spokesperson for HBO said "Succession" drew 9 million viewers per episode on average during its last season across all of its platforms, which includes linear television and delayed, on-demand viewing.

The bottom line: Despite the huge success of "Succession," it remains a somewhat niche series, the New York Times notes.

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