12 days. 25 Seasons. 552 episodes. 1 movie. Every Simpsons episode ever. A huge programming stunt to promote a semi-new network (roughly a year old) and their $1 billion deal to get The Simpsons on cable. Early indications are that the increase in viewership has been successful. The first day brought in 1.01 million viewers in prime time...up 391% over their normal viewers. Of that, the 18-49 age group accounted for 623,000 viewers...up 461%! (stats gathered here) However, smartly, FXX didn't just leave it at the programming stunt. They incorporated social media and web tactics to take advantage of the marathon.
The social media aspect included a Twitter account, @EverySimpsonEver, that live-Tweeted during the entire marathon. They have just under 56,000 followers. Additionally, they created a #SimpsonsSelfie contest for viewers to post their photos of themselves watching the marathon which included collecting their email addresses (I entered! See below.). They also worked with the TVTag app on a contest for checking in on Simpsons episodes during the marathon to win giant stickers. All told, I can tell you that my Twitter feed was full of SimpsonsSelfies and overall comments from viewers watching throughout the 12 days.
I think it's safe to say that the marathon was a success for FXX, but what now? The key is to build upon the audience they've built. FXX does have some plans in place. They're building a website/app called "Simpsons World" (read more here). This portal will launch in October (and will grow in January) and will have everything a super fan could ask for. It will require you to authenticate that you have FX as part of your cable package. Features will include:
- Access to every episode ever (Note: The Simpsons Movie will be available for limited times. They're also working on the original clips from "The Tracey Ullman Show".)
- A search function to easily find and share your favorite jokes and scenes
- The ability to curate your favorite episodes and scenes - and then recommend similar content
- An exhaustive episode and character guide - including scripts that can run along with the episodes
With all of the email addresses they were able gain with the #SimpsonsSelfie promotion, hopefully, they'll use that info to push out content to promote the Simpsons World app, promotions for new Simpsons season on the Fox network, additional Simpsons mini-marathons/programming stunts, promotions for other programming on the channel (and FX), more contests or other ways to keep these viewers engaged in the channel and their shows. As long as it's relevant and interesting, I, for one, won't mind getting emails from them.
Overall, I think they were able to breathe new life into The Simpsons as a whole...whether it needed it or not. I think a lot of people have a renewed appreciation, if not just a reminder, for the brilliance of the show and Matt Groening. I'm curious to hear from you. Did you watch any of the marathon and how much? What's your favorite episode or gag? Thanks for reading and please share this post with your friends!