As expected, after you debated the merits of each builder and custom bike you saw in the Discovery build-off competition, conversation in comments turned to a one decade long topic still dividing both bikers and professionals of the motorcycle industry. What are the effects, positive or negative, of such motorcycle TV shows? Do they make more people go into motorcycling, buy more parts, build more bikes. Do they improve or alter the image of bikers, make more people start a motorcycle shop or businesss, etc?
Well, there are no quantitative studies to measure what the effects these motorcycle related TV shows may have on the public at large, bikers and professionals in particular. And if there were studies, I am pretty certain answers would be very different depending of the TV show you refer to. For example Chopper Mania, Biker Build-Off and American Chopper are different breeds of entertainment. Through Nielsen, networks are extremely good at measuring the daily number of viewers and their demographics of each their programs. Objective? Of course selling advertising (“American Chopper Live” won Tuesday night December 11, 2012 Nielsen Cable ratings with 3,911,000 viewers) They are also able to rate each TV personality and host in terms of appeal to their adience, the way they keep or replace them. But networks are not really interested in observing any consumer behavior change of those watching their shows, except when selling show merchandise to them.
During the last 12 months, The Cyril Huze Post received an average of precisely 11,450 visitors per day (source Google Analytics), putting us by far in the lead among all V-Twin related magazines, print or online, both in the US and abroad. Some events on which I report daily create huge spikes in traffic. The most recent one is of course, last Monday & Tuesday’s “Discovery Chopper Live Build-Off” competition between Jesse James, Paul Senior, Paul Junior and the 2 guys of Gas Monkey Garage.
Look at the daily graph above showing our traffic just Friday December 7 to Wednesday December 12. On Friday December 7 and Saturday December 8 , it was usual regular traffic of respectively 10,802 and 11,425 visitors. Then, on Sunday December 9 (in directt contact with Jesse, I publish an exclusive on his struggle to finish his bike on time for the build-off on Monday) traffic jumps to 17,933 visitors. On Monday December 10 (1st Discovery Show) 28,784 ifferent visitors enter my website. On Tuesday December 11 (2nd Discovery Show) traffic jumps to 40,420 visitors to peak on Wednesday December 12 to a whopping 48,926 visitors for 76,312 page views!
So, as a media, do I benefit? Of course, yes. My advertisers and all those featured in my articles too. How many new visitors are transient, will never come back? Probably a lot. They may be non-bikers who don’t intend to enter in the sport of motorcycling, just looking for more inside information about their preferred entertainment show. How many discovered my daily news website and will stick with it, daily or occasionally? Time will tell? The only new readers I am certain of are the 927 readers who, during last week, signed up on the top right of this page the subscribtion form to receive my daily morning email updates. Is it as easy as it looks to attract the interest of more readers and to keep them faithful? Reporting motorcycle events is not enough. Some of you know that there is also behind these acquisition numbers a huge amount of hours of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), of background digital work (at least 2 hours a day) on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) In the case of TV build-off, it also helps a lot when the Discovery Channel blog, the builders involved who are also my friends and their fans tweet and re-tweet links to my articles. Thanks to all.
To come back to the influence of motorcycle TV shows on attract new bikers and on benefiting the industry, for sure, there is some immediate direct and indirect benefit, like for my website. Can we quantify it? Somewhat. Like when a vendor tells you that he sold a pair of wheels to a guy stating that he saw them on TV in such show where there was this bike from such builder… Are the effects deep and lasting? Nobody knows for sure and it’s getting extremely complicated when you add other parameters like the economy and demographic changes. So, today I am interested to know, and other readers too, if such TV shows influenced your decision to ride a motorcycle, to become a shop owner or bike builder, to buy more parts, to customize or build your own bike etc. Who gets the conversation started? (top picture @ Discovery)