Fan Theory

You Are
What You Love

Find out what your taste in TV says about you


Does fan status affect our neurological patterns when seeing stories we love?

Watching your favorite show is anything but a passive experience. Good stories have the power to make you laugh, cry, scream and hang on every word—leaving you craving more.

Watching your favorite show is anything but a passive experience. Good stories have the power to make you laugh, cry, scream and hang on every word—leaving you craving more.

What would you most likely watch?

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Do attitudes and beliefs determine the types of stories fans love?

Let’s face it: While we’re all unique, our entertainment preferences help define us. We know that who you are is shaped by what you love. The music you listen to, the shows you watch, and other media choices can capture a much more vivid picture of you than the age and gender boxes on a census form. With the vastness of TV today, the shows and genres you choose to watch in particular provide a unique window into your personality, attitudes and beliefs. This principle applies to everyone. So, what are the attitudes and beliefs of someone who watches a fantasy show like Game of Thrones vs. a romantic comedy like Younger? Or a competition reality show like The Bachelor vs. an entertainment reality show like Love and Hip Hop? If you are what you love, what does it say about you?

What’s behind this exploration?

To explore this idea, we took some of the most popular TV sub-genres today, and rather than looking at traditional demographics, we dove deeper into the psychographics—the shared attitudes and beliefs—that connect fans.

Leveraging our advanced data capabilities, we created a visualization tool that reveals the attitudes and beliefs that differentiate a subgenre’s fan base from the average TV fan, providing a glimpse into some of the ways we’re looking at and thinking about fans.

What We Learned

When we explored the data, it confirmed some things we already thought to be true. But it also challenged our traditional notions of a particular subgenre’s fanbase.

For instance, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that fans of crime-mystery TV shows seek challenges or that fans of fantasy TV shows like outrageous things. But you may be surprised to learn that the majority of sports fans think of themselves as intellectuals or fans of nature TV shows say, “I’m reachable wherever I am.”

Uncovering these shared traits amongst fan groups helps to piece together what the stories you love may say about who you are.

Looking Ahead

What you choose to watch may become an even greater indicator of who you are. As ‘peak TV’ continues its ascent and the access points and ways in which people watch TV continue to evolve and expand, fans will sharpen their ability to curate the content they consume to reflect what they love.

And as the two become more closely linked, we can also look at it from the other perspective-- do our attitudes and beliefs become a bellwether for the types of content we’re drawn to? We think the answer is yes, and that’s why we’re dedicated to intimately understanding who our fans are and what they love.

For further analysis and to learn more about Fan Theory go to V by Viacom

Fan Theory

Fan Theory is a series of thought-provoking experiments from Viacom, designed to explore the relationship between fans and the stories they love.

Leveraging the power of our best-in-class research and data capabilities, Fan Theory looks at fans and audiences through a cultural, psychographic, and neurological lens. As a global entertainment company, we’re committed to understanding audiences in new ways to build deeper connections with fans that have breadth and depth. Each experiment is in support of this, validating the hypotheses we have around the relationships and dynamics fans have with content.