Surprising Results for Spring Drama & Commercial Captivation Rankings | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Surprising Results for Spring Drama & Commercial Captivation Rankings

We measured the "degree of being "fixated" on the screen to see if the viewers are looking at the screen properly, and the results were astonishing! The ranking is completely different from the ratings, which include "watching while watching"! Kim Taku's "Believe", Hiroki Hasegawa's "Antihero", the morning drama "Tora ni Tsubasa", the historical drama "Hikaru Kimi he", etc.

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Yuriko Yoshitaka (35) in “Hikaru Kimi e” captivates audiences of all ages with her starring role in the historical drama.

As long as the TV is switched on, the ratings will go up. Even if viewers aren’t watching the program properly and are just “watching while doing something else.” Can we really know which shows are being watched this way?

From such doubts, the TV viewership data analysis company ‘REVISIO’ (hereafter referred to as R Company) developed its own standard called “Viewer Engagement Rate” (attention rate). Based on R Company’s data, FRIDAY created a ranking of the most engaging TV dramas (for initial broadcasts) and commercials aired in April (Top 30 for dramas, Top 15 for commercials). Looking at the chart, the results are surprisingly different from the usual ratings!

Before explaining the individual works, let us introduce R Company’s original measurement method, as explained by Sori Yasutake, the company’s Public Relations/Marketing representative.

“The viewer engagement rate is determined by whether the viewers’ gaze is directed at the TV screen. Watching while doing something else, the screen is often not being looked at, so even if the ratings are high, the engagement rate does not increase. We install sensors on TVs in ordinary households to measure whether the registered viewers’ skeletons are facing the screen.

The higher the engagement rate, the more it can be said that the program is being watched attentively. Currently, we have the cooperation of about 2,000 households (approximately 4,800 people) in the Kanto region and about 600 households (approximately 1,500 people) in the Kansai region. For example, if 70 out of 100 people in front of the TV are looking at the screen, the engagement rate would be 70%. The ratings shown in the chart are also figures independently surveyed by our company.”

Young Actors Driving the Historical Drama

Let’s take a look at the rankings, starting with the dramas. In first place is the historical drama “Hikaru Kimi e” (NHK, starring Yuriko Yoshitaka, 35. The broadcasting station and actor names will follow hereafter). Yasutake continues:

“The historical drama consistently ranks high every year. Particularly, ‘Hikaru Kimi e’ has a high engagement rate and has the best numbers compared to the past five years of historical dramas. The engagement rate can be tracked by the second. While many highly engaging dramas see a spike in numbers during the climax in the latter half of the program, the premiere of ‘Hikaru Kimi e’ saw the highest attention during the opening scene. This indicates that viewers, who were anticipating the show from the trailers and previews, were eagerly awaiting the drama.”

Young actors are driving the popularity.

“Regarding ‘Hikaru Kimi e,’ our company announces the top three most attention-grabbing scenes from each episode on social media every week, and the repost rate related to Keita Machida (33) is unusually high. Machida plays the role of Fujiwara no Kintou, and even if he doesn’t have many scenes, the engagement rate spikes dramatically. It’s not only the elderly who have been watching historical dramas for years but also younger viewers who are drawn in by the actors, which is one of the reasons ‘Hikaru Kimi e’ ranked first,” says Yasutake.

The ranking also reveals differences in attention rates between genders. This is explained by Masumi Itamoto, R Company’s Customer Success representative.

“Women tend to have higher engagement rates due to casting. For example, ‘Akuma Game’ (NTV, starring Shotaro Mamiya, 30) ranks 15th overall, with male viewers ranking it 23rd, but it’s relatively high at 11th among female viewers (R Company surveyed about 40 works). Engagement rates also vary by age group. Besides Mamiya, the drama features Juri Tanaka (28) from the idol group SixTONES and Ryo Ryusei (31), attracting a strong following among young, enthusiastic female fans.”

The 9th-ranked drama ‘Believe’ (TV Asahi), starring Takuya Kimura, who turns 52 this year, also has a high popularity among young women.

“Although it ranks 13th in female attention in the chart, it has a high engagement rate among younger viewers. Romance is one of the themes women favor. Young women who didn’t watch Kimura’s past starring works in real-time are now watching his romantic dramas, which have become popular again through terrestrial reruns and video streaming services. These women, captivated by the trendy content different from today’s, might be drawn to watching ‘Believe,'” says Itamoto.

Men tend to prefer works with social themes.

“For example, ‘Tora ni Tsubasa’ (NHK, starring Sairi Ito, 30), which ranks 4th overall, is also high in male attention at 4th. The theme is law, and men prefer substantial dramas with a heavy narrative. ‘Antihero’ (TBS, starring Hiroki Hasegawa, 47), which is 6th overall and 3rd among men, also has a high level of social relevance with its motif of criminal trials. This drama not only has the highest viewership ratings but also a high engagement rate, making it a highly appealing work for viewers,” says Itamoto.

Many might find the 2nd and 3rd ranked dramas surprising. Despite having low viewership ratings at 34th and 35th, they rank high in engagement rates.

“Both are what you’d call boys’ love works. Due to their late-night time slots, they don’t have high viewership ratings, but they attract a dedicated fanbase in that genre,” explains Yasutake.

Next, let’s look at the attention rates for commercials (CMs). CM rankings are often influenced by the popularity of the sponsoring program, so the results can be biased. The table above, scored using R Company’s proprietary measurement method that minimizes the influence of the program, shows the rankings. At the top is Nintendo’s “Super Mario Brothers,” featuring Yui Aragaki (35). Itamoto elaborates:

“It’s ranked first in male engagement, demonstrating Aragaki’s popularity. The content shows Aragaki at home, reacting naturally while playing an online game. The sensation of playing a game with a beloved actress seems to resonate well.”

The distinguishing feature of noteworthy commercials is said to be a solid storyline with unexpected elements. Yui Aragaki’s immersive reaction while engrossed in the game likely possesses a rare quality that sets it apart.

An exceptional case that captivated viewers is the 6th-ranked Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s “Apology and Request.”

“In April, there was criticism of their supplements containing red yeast rice. Despite being a 30-second commercial, its engagement rate remained consistently high. This reflects the heightened public interest in the issue,” states Itamoto.

Key actors who can grip viewers’ hearts and maintain their attention play a crucial role in commercials with high attention rates. When these actors fit well into the narrative and casting, the engagement rate can significantly soar.

Takuya Kimura (51) in “Believe”: Surprisingly high attention from younger women for the 51-year-old Kimura.
Sairi Ito (30) in “Tora ni Tsubasa”: Ito’s lead role in “Tora ni Tsubasa” earns high support from men due to its societal themes.
Hiroki Hasegawa (47) in “Antihero”: Hasegawa’s starring role in “Antihero” enjoys both high ratings and attention.

From the June 7 and 14, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

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