With the Influencer Panel we are able to do significantly more research at a fraction of the cost. We’re able to access more than 15,000 of our viewers every day and turn around research in 24-48 hours, which we do all the time. We love it.
Media is a high-stakes and incredibly fast-paced industry. Therefore, rapid decision making is a top priority. That being said, the cost of making a poor decision is high. As a result, it is important for Discovery to ground each of its decisions on research. Discovery needed an effective way to connect with a representative sample of viewers immediately and on an ongoing basis.
After creating the Influencer Panel, Discovery wasted little time working with developers at Vision Critical to customize applications suitable to their audience. “Vision Critical has helped us tailor our member experience to reflect the Discovery brand,” said Colby Flint, Corporate Research Analyst at Discovery. “When our members come to our sites, when they complete our surveys and give their feedback, they are having a real Discovery experience.” The insight community has gained the attention of multiple departments who independently access the tool and contribute to the variety of involvement that this audience relishes. Influencer Panel members regularly participate in title selection for programs and help to refine Discovery commercials. They also participated in the hugely successful launch of Destination America, a TV network that launched in summer 2012, by voicing their opinion about its name, logo and programming direction.
The Influencer Panel very quickly developed a reputation within the Discovery executive team as a tool for almost immediate viewer feedback, and it is now asked for by name. Dan Catzva of Animal Planet alluded to the appeal of the Influencer Panel: “In some cases, this is kind of like the judge hitting the gavel,” Catzva said. “This often ends a debate and helps us make a decision.” As utilization of the tool grows within Discovery, so too does the depth of knowledge. “We are able to make stronger inferences from the results of our studies because we know about our members,” Flint said. “There’s a depth of information through their past survey results, and having that stored in one location is hugely beneficial in giving us context to their responses.” From launching networks, to seeing a program title they selected appear on their television screens, the community members have achieved a lot too. By promoting active involvement in network decisions through the community, Discovery is allowing true fans to contribute to the network in a positive way. The effect of the Influencer Panel is that it leaves viewers more informed, more excited, and more vested in the future of one of the world’s favorite brands.