I recently met a Phoenix TV reporter who has been covering the Jodi Arias trial, and he said that moms were the demographic fueling all the TV ratings for the Arias trial.
The ratings on HLN, which has covered the trial non-stop, have increased dramatically over the last two months.
According to Media Bistro in March, “The biggest gains are in the afternoon hours, where HLN is up over +100% in total and demo viewers from 3-6PM ET. 4PM’s “Making It In America,” for example, is up +136% in total viewers and +128% in the demo compared to Q1 2012.”
From March to April rating increased 43 percent in viewers 25 to 54 in the “Total Day.”
“Arias testified for 18 days about every aspect of her sex life with Alexander, many of the details X-rated in nature. The proliferation of streaming video and Twitter has made the trial accessible to people in ways unimaginable just a couple years ago. The court proceedings themselves have devolved into a sideshow at times, with a bizarre retelling of the Snow White fairy tale by a defense witness and lawyers playing in open court a raunchy phone sex chat between Arias and the victim a month before the killing. On top of that, cable networks such as HLN have thrown fuel on the fire by providing wall-to-wall coverage of the case. As a result, the network has seen record ratings.
“Everybody always has known that if you can tell a story and say it is based on a true story, or ripped from the headlines, than that’s often something you can make more compelling because it’s real,” said Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture. “Well, this is the ultimate. This isn’t based on a real story. You’re showing them the real story.”
“TV networks realized in the months after the killing that they had ratings gold with the Arias case. Arias courted the spotlight right away, doing jailhouse interviews with “Inside Edition” and “48 Hours” in which she adamantly denied killing Alexander, instead blaming it on two masked intruders. She stuck with that story until two years after her arrest then changed her tune to self-defense.”
“The Turner Broadcasting-owned HLN went all-in during the trial, launching a new show called “HLN After Dark” devoted primarily to Arias. The network’s main personalities, led by Nancy Grace, have covered nothing but Arias, and HLN has set up a stage near the courtroom where it seats mock juries. Lifetime has a movie in the works. And the major networks have gotten in on the action, too. ABC’s “Good Morning America” scored a major scoop during the trial by obtaining Arias’ diaries that were filled with all sorts of juicy details about her romance with Alexander.”
“Thompson and network executives say the trial has become so popular because viewers can relate to the characters, whether it’s a stormy romance, an obsessive ex-girlfriend or a cheating boyfriend.”
“We knew the characters involved like Jodi and Travis were interesting young people, in love theoretically, and it went dramatically bad,” said Scot Safon, executive vice president and general manager of HLN.
“A crime story like this that goes to trial, it’s never just about the story itself,” he added. “You get to know the people involved.”
So do you know people glued to the trial? What is the fascination? Is it because it’s like a real soap opera? Do people feel like they know the people?
Is it the violence? Is it the sex? (Two friends of ours that have been covering the trial just published an e-book about it, and apparently it includes sex stuff from the trial that newspapers just couldn’t publish.) Is it her changing stories?
Why do you think the Jodi Arias trial is so popular with women? Do you believe that moms are fueling those viewership numbers?