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High-Definition Genealogy High-Definition Genealogy by Thomas MacEntee provides various services to the genealogy and family history community including market research, consulting, education, and more.

07 February 2011 ~ Comments Off

Impact of WDYTYA on Ancestry.com Stock

Cannacord|Genuity is one of several financial firms which have begun tracking Ancestry.com‘s stock performance (the ticker symbol is ACOM) with recommendations for its clients based on their analysts’ research.

This morning Cannacord issued one of its research reports for ACOM entitled WDYTYA Season 2 – Solid Start. It is an interesting read, especially this information:

  • Cannacord places Ancestry.com in the Technology – Internet Solutions – eCommerce market.
  • A valuation target of $40 per share has been set for ACOM stock.
  • WDYTYA also aired simultaneously in Canada on Friday evening. I am still researching Canadian television ratings and will post any information I can find.
  • Cannacord uses an interesting “celebrity scale” based on search results from Google Trends. While Vanessa Williams was rated at 28%, and Tim McGraw at 100% I find it interesting that Season 1’s episode for Emmitt Smith was one of the highest rated despite his 8% celebrity rank.
  • There does seem to be a “subscriber lift” at Ancestry.com due to not only the original airings of WDYTYA but the brief re-airing season in August and September 2010.

Also note that Cannacord used several of my Season 1 WDYTYA ratings charts and tables in their report.

[Disclosure Statement: Cannacord|Genuity contacted me and requested permission to use my ratings analysis and tracking information for Season 1 of Who Do You Think You Are? for which there was no compensation .  See the Disclosure Statements page for a list of all material connections I have with genealogy-related vendors.]

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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05 February 2011 ~ Comments Off

Who Do You Think You Are? Ratings – Season 2 Episode 1 Vanessa Williams

These are the overnight ratings for last evening’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with Vanessa Williams 1:

  • Total viewers: 7.32 million
  • 18-49 age group rating: 1.3
  • 18-49 age share: 4.5 (average of both 30 minute time slots)
  • Time slot rank: 2
  • Evening rank: 6

Analysis

  • The 7.32 million viewers was a record for the entire WDYTYA series including all episodes from the first season. 2 3
  • WDYTYA did come in second in its timeslot for the evening.
  • Results may be skewed by the fact that the over 50 age group is not accounted for in the overnight ratings and they make up the majority of the genealogy and family history demographic.
  • Also not yet available, is any breakout among the African-American demographic. This is important since Williams is the lead off episode during Black History Month. In Season 1 of WDYTYA, the most popular episode in number of viewers was Emmitt Smith, another African-American celebrity. 4

Notes

1 The “overnight ratings” are from the major metropolitan areas. Normally, a follow-up adjustment appears with the final ratings.  In most cases any changes between the overnight and final ratings are minor.

2 Source: The Futon Staff Critic, “Friday’s Broadcast Ratings: NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” Returns With a Series High” The Futon Critic,(http://www.thefutoncritic.com/ratings/2011/02/05/fridays-broadcast-ratings-nbcs-who-do-you-think-you-are-returns-with-a-series-high-499305/broadcast_20110204/), accessed 5 February 2011.

3 Source: Marc Berman, “Last Night’s Results for February 4, 2011,” The Programming Insider, MediaWeek (http://pifeedback.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/63310451/m/140108053) accessed 5 February 2011. Note: Berman does point out that DVR usage has impacted ratings with a change from 33% market penetration in 2010 to 38% so far in 2011.

4 Source: Porter, Rick, “TV Ratings: “‘Numb3rs’ finale leads CBS Friday” ZAP2it.com, Tribune Media Services, (http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2010/03/tv-ratings-numb3rs-finale-leads-cbs-friday.html), accessed 13 March 2010.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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26 January 2011 ~ 9 Comments

Ancestry.com – The Evil Empire of Genealogy?

Ever since Ancestry.com announced the shuttering of its fairly new Expert Connect service on Monday, the genealogy blogs and message boards have been filled with input, feedback, commentary, debate and overall a very productive introspection by the genealogy community. This introspection not only has dealt with how professional genealogists should be marketing their own services, but also about the role of Ancestry.com in the genealogy industry and the genealogy community.

I’ve already discussed what I feel are the motivations for such a move by Ancestry.com here. As a colleague asked, do I think the termination of Expert Connect is a positive or a negative? In short I’d say a positive for Ancestry.com operations, a negative for its image and role in the genealogy community, and yet still a positive for the genealogy community.  Confused? Here’s why:

  • As I mentioned previously, Expert Connect was probably an operational and support nightmare.  Imagine having to deal with customers who didn’t know the first thing about hiring an expert to either do the genealogy research or assist them with their own research. Imagine having to arbitrate situations where the customer was not happy with the expert’s service. Imagine processing refunds on commissions. I also expect that there may have been some liability issues as well as in a so-called expert misrepresenting themselves, taking money up-front etc. (Note: I don’t know of any specific situation but you must admit it is in the realm of possibilities with such as service as Expert Connect). Eliminating Expert Connect was a good move in terms of Ancestry.com being able to commit such resources, time, energy and money elsewhere within the company.
  • Did Ancestry.com bungle its handling of Expert Connect? It did as far as I can see, but I don’t see where it could have done much more than it did. Many of the experts have complained that they deserved more than 8 days notification before their lifeline of income was truncated. I emphasized these words because they’ve actually been used in some of the discussions I’ve read. As stated by others, if Expert Connect was your only stream of income as a professional genealogist then you didn’t have a solid business plan to begin with. And please don’t use the word deserve which is so overused in American society. (Have you noticed lately, especially in commercials and other forms of marketing, how you deserve something instead of earn it? Talk about your sense of entitlement.) Businesses add features and then take them away. Is it a tease? Not really – some things don’t work out. Is it poor planning? Perhaps, but also things can change such as the economy, industry trends, consumer tastes, etc. Is it fair? Again, fairness has nothing to do with this. Part of living under a capitalistic system is the ability to thrive economically but also one must be prepared to make one’s own changes when changes come.
  • I think the move, including the bungling, by Ancestry.com is a positive for the genealogy community. And I’m not saying this because I’m a “glass half-full” kinda guy. I say this because what we’ve witnessed as a community is an opportunity.So far, many of the service providers for Expert Connect have had to re-examine their business plans and look to improving their marketing skills – a good thing. Industry organizations like the Association for Professional Genealogists are jumping in to offer their services – a good thing. The genealogy community is talking, interacting, sharing ideas and giving a good hard look at Expert Connect and Ancestry.com – again, all good things.

Finally what do I hope we’ve learned or will learn as a community?

  • That Ancestry.com has now come full circle in its detachment from and embracement of the genealogy community. You may recall some of Ancestry.com’s previous boondoggles such as the copyright issues involving the Internet Biographical Collection back in 2007. Then, when they went public, Ancestry.com seemed to actively court the genealogy community through events, Bloggers Days, and more. Remember all the hype around Who Do You Think You Are? and its first season? How this was not just good for Ancestry.com but also good for the community? Did you feel the love? And now we seem to be – in my opinion – back to square one in terms of what Ancestry is willing to give to the community vs. what it wants from the genealogy community.
  • As a community we can’t put all our eggs in one basket. Just because Ancestry.com is the biggest player in the genealogy industry (for the time being), it doesn’t mean we should make this our sole focus as a provider of content and services. Just as one would do with their financial portfolio, we should be diversifying where our commitments and our dollars go in terms of genealogy.
  • Speaking of deserve, do we deserve better than a company that is positioning itself as the Microsoft of genealogy, a necessary evil to be dealt with? Again let’s get rid of the “deserve” or “entitled to” concepts.  Let’s earn and work for what we get. I think the genealogy community has become complacent and often neglects the many other resources available. This is a prime opportunity for many vendors and organizations to jump in and fill what I see as a growing void of discontent. Look at what APG has done and is doing. Be prepared for more of this which is, again, a positive for the genealogy industry and community.
  • Lastly, remember how your parents used to say, “dance with the one that brung ya?” Many feel the same way about their dance with Ancestry.com. From giving feedback on beta products, participating in message boards and more, there is not so much a sense of betrayal as there is a sense of disappointment. So why would you continue to dance with someone who steps on your toes, who is clumsy, or doesn’t engage in conversation? The truth is you don’t.  Or you just dance until someone better comes along.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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