5 minutes

Speed to Insights: Identifying the Cast for Your Next Script Using Affinity Data

The TV and Film industry is as fast-paced as they come. Faced with constant pressure to release content that resonates, quick decisions need to be made that can have the impact of turning the next project either into the next Hollywood blockbuster or flop.  

When there is this constant pressure to always be releasing new content that resonates, how can you make timely decisions about one of the most critical components of your upcoming project: Casting the right people?

The answer? Analyzing the interests and affinities of an audience

Using Affinio, customers such as Lionsgate and BBC Studios are able to identify their target audience segments and discover the interests and affinities of those segments. Immediately studios are able to pinpoint what matters most to their target audience, including the brands they trust, the media they consume, as well as the actors and actresses they love.

Let’s take a look at a couple examples of how these insights can automatically be uncovered and applied.

Identifying actors for the next blockbuster

Imagine this scenario… You’re on the marketing and insights team at a movie studio and have a script in place that you are hoping will have mass appeal. With hundreds of A-list actors and actresses to consider and approach, where do you begin? Turning to Affinio, you can run a report that breaks down the entire US population on Twitter and segments it into 20 unique clusters.


From this breakdown you notice an audience segment that is most interested in Pop Culture. Clicking through you quickly get a sense for what makes this audience unique by seeing an aggregate of how these 3.5 million people self-describe and their top interests.

You even can get a sense of the demographic make-up of this audience by looking into how their age and gender breakout.

Now that you have an idea of the type of person that would fall into this Pop Culture audience cluster, you can quickly identify a number of actors and actresses of interest to this particular audience ranked by relevance.

Beyond simply identifying your A-list talent though, this same tactic can be applied to your supporting cast as well. By sorting by Affinity you know have an entire list of celebrities that resonate more with this particular audience than the rest.

Lots of factors go into these casting decisions such as creative fit, budget, storyline, and compatibility. However, understanding who is resonating with the target audience is important and uncovering a short-list of celebrities let’s you quickly identify where to start your casting decision.

Identifying actors for underserved audiences

But what if the audience you are trying to understand isn’t the general population? What if you have a script that is targeting a very specific audience segment that is currently underserved and you are not familiar with? How can you quickly identify the talent that best suits this targeted audience?

This is where leveraging the insights from proxy audiences comes in. Let’s pretend you are looking to launch a new TV Show or film that plays off the success from the hit show Nashville.

To do this, you can analyze the most passionate and vocal in the Nashville fan-base and run a Content report on those that have Tweeted using one of the show handles or hashtags.

Analyzing the 7,084 people that have used at least one of these terms in the past 30 days, you uncover 8 unique audience clusters drawn to the show which provides insights into the audiences it attracts.

Now looking at this audiences interests you can identify some of those stars that resonate with this audience and fan-base for the show Nashville.  Leveraging these insights immediately provide you with a short-list of some of those actors and actresses you can think about approaching to cast that resonate within this audience you are creating your work tailored for.

As was shown in the previous example, not only can this approach be used to identify potential stars for this new content but affinity data can be leveraged to uncover a list of lesser known stars who still resonates with this audience. Identifying this list can play a key role in properly casting in a cost effective manner to provide positive return-on-investment on these projects that typically have smaller budgets.

Identifying actors for unfamiliar audiences

Finally, what if you are faced with a script that is for something completely new and different? Can audience analysis help identify potential candidates for this? The short answer to that is yes.

Again this technique leverages proxy audiences but instead of analyzing the audience drawn to a show, you are simply analyzing the audience that is interested in a particular category.
For example, pretend you have a script that involves health-conscious yogis.  By running a report that looks at people discussing a variety of terms involving yoga accompanied by food, water, hydration, nutrition, etc., an audience size of 28,859 unique people is brought back.

Based on the shared interests from this audience, 8 unique audience clusters emerged.  

Now let’s pretend the audience you are targeting are those interested in Politics, as well as yoga/health. By clicking on the Politics Fans audience cluster, from within the larger group who were discussing yoga and health-related terms, you are able to understand their common interests as well as some of the other causes they’ve recently been engaging with or following.

Within a matter of moments you are able to uncover an entire list of celebrities that you can consider approaching that are ranked by their highest relevance and affinity into this unique audience cluster.

Now in just over an hour you have an entire short-list of potential candidates to consider that your target audience is already interested in. Not only does this save you research time, it ensures whoever you choose is already resonating with your fan base.

Interested in learning more about how audience data can help casting for your next project? Request a demo today.

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