As we’ve seen among Generation Stream, TV is constantly serving as a mood management tool. We’ve found that ‘mood’ is a two-way street. On one hand, mood directs streamers to what they watch, and on the other hand, what viewers watch directs their mood.
Given that the recent presidential debates incited a range of moods across political affiliations, we wanted to see if Hulu viewers tuned into the recent presidential and vice presidential debates, and whether or not mood influenced their post-debate viewing behavior.
Here’s a look at what we’ve learned:
Hulu viewers are engaged and tuning into the presidential debates.
Amazingly, nearly all Hulu viewers (97%) are planning to vote in the 2020 election. In fact, 84% think it’s important to watch the presidential debates and 59% of our viewers shared that they look forward to them.
Most are watching to stay up-to-date on messages, platforms and initiatives (76%) — they want to stay informed! One viewer stressed the importance of watching the debates: “It’s my civic responsibility.”
On the other hand, some watch the debates for social currency, specifically to have something to talk about with friends afterwards. A few viewers even held watch parties and created drinking games out of the viewing experience to keep it engaging and light.
Despite Hulu viewers’ appreciation and interest in the debates, they had negative feelings tied to the debate itself.
The most common feelings that Hulu viewers felt while watching the debates were: annoyed (83%) and exhausted (64%).
We also asked them to share their debate-related feelings in their own words. They shared that they felt:
How did Hulu viewers decompress after the debates? Comedies!
Following the debates, Hulu viewers shared they were looking for content that was fun, easy to watch and lighthearted. They said that the debates were “….disheartening and I needed something light to make me laugh,” and “we needed something lighthearted that would not cause anxiety…something funny that we had seen before (no guessing the ending).”
At Hulu, we have a term for watching lighter content after heavier content as a way to decompress; we call this concept Palate Cleansing. We first discovered this behavior when viewers were turning to comedies, like The Golden Girls, immediately after watching The Handmaid’s Tale. We’ve also seen this trend extend to other dramas on our platform.
Likewise, following the debates, we saw that people were looking to decompress from the heavy content by turning to comedies. Shows that people watched following the presidential and vice presidential debates include: Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, American Dad, and Seinfeld.
Hulu viewers specifically shared:
Other palate-cleansing content included: home improvement shows (like Windy City Rehab and House Hunters International) and reality competition shows (like Shark Tank, Dancing with the Stars and The Weakest Link).
Hulu viewers were also drawn to news and late night talk shows after the debates.
In addition to watching comedies, Hulu viewers also tuned into news content for a recap of the night and to “hear a breakdown of thoughts post-debate.” Top news programming included Hannity, The Ingraham Angle, Debate Analysis on MSNBC and ABC News Live.
Late night talk shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live also topped our viewership after the debates.
Learning from mood-based streaming.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Generation Stream is leveraging mood to select content, we’ll soon be sharing our MoodTube report on the Generation Stream Hub. You can also find more information on Hulu’s Election 2020 initiatives here.