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TV Missing Opportunities to Connect with Viewers

21 May, 2014 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – TV networks are bad at capitalizing on Internet link capital they’ve earned through online and offline media campaigns, says a new study from RankAbove, a search engine software provider.

As networks sell TV and digital ad packages, and media buyers use digital inventory to extend offline buys, RankAbove has analyzed the websites that are most effective to extend the show’s presence from offline to online.

Broadcast network websites like, and continually lost ranking in Google searches to Wikipedia, individual TV show Wikia sites, and IMDb for top-ranking slots.

Other findings:

  • While TV networks are the natural candidates to occupy top positions for keywords containing the names of the series they own, they rarely do so. Out of the 1,015 most popular keywords related to popular show names, networks occupy top-five positions in only about 50 percent of cases (at most) and for some networks this percentage falls below 20 percent. There are a large number of opportunities in the TV niche for smaller players to capture the search engine results pages (SERPs) not currently capitalized by large TV networks.
  • The size of the opportunity is exemplified by the potential increase of traffic for the TV network sites, assuming they are able to obtain the first or second positions in SERPs – in some cases they could potentially increase their organic search traffic by more than 700 percent.
  • Some of the independent competitors in the field of online streaming are dominating the SERPs for keywords relevant to their names and the TV shows. Not in a single case checked for the purposes of this study did a large TV network rank for a keyword related to a streaming site (Sidereel, TV Duck, Blinkx, etc.). This is a missed opportunity, because many people search for related keywords.
  • The majority of TV network websites are failing to capitalize on the traffic relevant to video streaming. While a majority of them offer online streaming of episodes, only CBS is doing a relatively good job of capturing organic search traffic from people looking to watch episodes online. As more and more people use mobile devices to stream media, this sub-niche is growing more important and early adopters will have a distinct advantage in capturing the top positions for those phrases.
  • Universal listings are a tremendous untapped opportunity for TV networks to rank their sites easily and in a visually appealing way on the first search engine results page. Interestingly, the vast majority of these listings are occupied by other websites. News universal listings are a particularly obvious example, featuring not a single listing by large TV networks.

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