Horowitz Research: Late Night TV

How using real-time feedback in Recollective helped improve late-night television.

When a prominent TV Network came to Horowitz Research with the challenge of how to optimize a late-night television show to increase Millennial viewership, they immediately knew Recollective would be the best platform for the job. Through Recollective’s interactive tools and engaging interface, Horowitz was able to gain real-time reactions from Millennials and create an ongoing feedback loop to help optimize their marketing, positioning, tone, social media content and more. Using Recollective helped the TV Network save time and money while enabling them to make iterative adjustments to content in time for the next show.


Over recent years, there has been a shift in television viewing habits from watching live TV to an increasing preference for streaming services, especially among Millenials. In a world where media, content and entertainment is always on demand, this key audience has become more and more fragmented over time and more challenging for networks to reach. As a result, the landscape for live late-night television has changed drastically, along with the networks’ ability to conduct research to optimize programming to reach Millenials.


The key challenge the TV Network faced was determining how to create content that appeals to millenials and keep the show relevant over time given the changing landscape. Since the late-night TV show is broadcast live, and not on streaming services, the client was looking for a way to optimize the show in a timely manner and better reach their core demographic.

Specifically, the TV Network needed to:

  • Discover what Millennial viewers thought of late-night TV
  • Gauge viewer reactions to this new show and its host
  • Generate real-time feedback to allow the network to adjust the show from week to week
  • Help the production and marketing team to make informed decisions to increase viewership and engagement

Given that the target audience is used to being online and interacting through social media, the research needed to operate in a similar environment.


The research design incorporated a wide range of activities, including a way to gain in-the-moment responses to specific segments of the show, feedback on marketing materials and promotional videos, plus the capability to test a variety of concepts.

The study had a mixed-mode qualitative exploration phase and had to provide a modern, seamless and engaging experience. For this reason, Horowitz and their client chose Recollective because they were confident it included the most up to date tools to conduct the research, all while providing an interactive environment consistent with what Millennials would expect from a prominent entertainment company.

For example, Recollective’s interface mimicked the types of interactions that Millennials were familiar with social media and made it easy for them to adapt. The cross-platform adaptability of Recollective also made it possible for the participants to participate wherever and whenever it was most convenient using their choice of smartphone, tablet or laptop.

To explore the in-the-moment response to the show, Horowitz used segmentation and skip logic to ensure each participant would only be shown questions relevant to them. If they missed a particular show or segment, they would not be asked about it that week. Additionally, the variety of task types available in Recollective was important in keeping high engagement rates over this six-month-long project. This included photo and video uploads, polls, discussion boards and more.

Finally, from Horowitz’s point of view, the in-app analysis tools such as coding and excerpting responses allowed them to generate quick reports with ease and keep their client armed with time-relevant data.


The use of Recollective proved hugely successful for both the end client and Horowitz. Using Recollective, the client was able to:

  • Gain timely feedback - Test ideas and concepts immediately during & after air to see if anything needed to be altered in time for the following week’s show.
  • Reach Millennials across the country - Recollective’s asynchronous online platform made it easy for digitally-native Millennials to participate, regardless of their schedule or location.
  • Create an ongoing dialogue between the network and their audience - The client and community members developed a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship that led to more honest feedback about the show and late-night genre overall.
  • Keep community members highly engaged - Recollective’s platform generated a feedback loop between the community members and the show. As the viewers could see their feedback being incorporated into the show week after week, they were more engaged and gave better, more actionable feedback to the research team than the client had previously experienced.

Overall the community served as an ideation platform to develop, test and tweak programming concepts, creative, branding and messaging over the course of six months. During that time period, they received between 70-75% completion rate on the activities due to the platform’s engaging environment. The client was so thrilled with the results and feedback from this study that to this day they still continue to test other shows with Horowitz and Recollective using a similar approach.

Our client was absolutely thrilled with the level of insight they were able to glean from this community, and they have come back to us several times to replicate this for other shows and content. Plus, the client service team at Recollective is great – they were always quick to help us with any issues and make sure we got our activities launched on time!

Stephanie Wong

Director, Insights and Strategy, Horowitz Research

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Horowitz Research: Late Night TV

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Horowitz Research: Late Night TV

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