Regression discontinuity model for TV series

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In September, we are usually happy to see our favorite TV series back on air… Or not? Because admit it, if we are happy to see those characters back, most of the time, we are disappointed. So why not look at the data, to confirm this feeling? Nazareno Andrade shared some nice codes to get IMDB ratings in a nice csv file (you can either use the large csv file, or run your own codes)

base = read.csv("series_from_imdb.csv")

It is a large dataset, with more than 64,000 episodes of almost 890 TV series,

'data.frame':	64018 obs. of  18 variables:
 $ series_name: Factor w/ 889 levels "'Allo 'Allo!",..: 137 137 137 137 137 137 137 137 137 137 ...
 $ episode    : Factor w/ 54090 levels "-30-","¡Viva los muertos!",..: 32314 7446 16 7176 17748 9562 1379 36218 17845 5553 ...
 $ series_ep  : int  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ...
 $ season     : int  1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 ...
 $ season_ep  : int  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 ...
 $ user_rating: num  8.9 8.7 8.7 8.2 8.3 9.2 8.8 8.7 9.2 8.3 ...

Just pick a TV series, for instance Dan Harmon’s Community,

sbase = base[base$series_name=="Community",]

We can plot the evolution of the rating over the 110 episodes.


()since there could be some problem with the data (such as duplicates, let us clean it quickly)

a = unique(sbase$season)
for(u in a){
  ssbase = sbase[sbase$season==u,]
  reg = lm(UserRating~series_ep,data=ssbase)

The vertical lines are here to visualize the seasons. On issue is that the lenght can vary with time. Consider Linwood Boomer’s Malcom in The Middle,

sbase = base[base$series_name=="Malcolm in the Middle",]

or Craig Thomas and Carter Bays’s How I Met Your Mother,

sbase = base[base$series_name=="How I Met Your Mother",]

On those two, the evolution is rather stable. Look at AMC’s The Walking Dead,

sbase = base[base$series_name=="The Walking Dead",]

Now, look at Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa’s Homeland,

sbase = base[base$series_name=="Homeland",]

There is an issue here with the last episode of season4, “Long Time Coming“, that has a very poor rating. If we remove that point, we get the thin line. Note that the regression line is always increasing. For Michael Hirst’s Vickings, we have

sbase = base[base$series_name=="Vicking",]

If we look more carefully on the previous graph, for five seasons (out of six), we have a positive slope. Well, to be honest, it is not significantly positive most of the time, but still. Out of 80 shows, and a total of 583 seasons, the slope is postive 75% of the time (433) and negative 25% of the time (150).

L80 = unique(base$series_name)
for(j in 1:length(L)){
for(u in a){
  pente = NA
  if((summary(reg)$coefficients[2,4]<.05)&(coefficients(reg)[2]>0)) pente="positive"
  if((summary(reg)$coefficients[2,4]<.05)&(coefficients(reg)[2]<0)) pente="negative" sdf=data.frame(nom=sbase$series_name[1],season=u,slope=coefficients(reg)[2],inf=confint(reg)[2,1],sup=confint(reg)[2,2],signe=pente) BASE=rbind(BASE,sdf)} }} str(BASE) 'data.frame': 583 obs. of 6 variables: $ nom : Factor w/ 80 levels "Friends","Game of Thrones",..: 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ... 

[1] 0.7427101
negative positive 
      15      144


sbase12 = sbase[sbase$season%in%c(a[ij],a[ij+1]),]
seuil = sbase12$series_ep[which(diff(sbase12$season)!=0)]+.5
s = function(x) (x-seuil)*(x>seuil)
reg = lm(UserRating~series_ep+s(series_ep)+I(series_ep>seuil),data=sbase12)


                         Estimate Std. Error t value  Pr(|t|)    
(Intercept)               8.45000    0.16338  51.719    2e-16 ***
series_ep                 0.10000    0.03235   3.091 0.008598 ** 
s(series_ep)              0.02000    0.04218   0.474 0.643291    
I(series_ep)TRUE.        -1.01778    0.20486  -4.968 0.000257 ***

But again, most of the time, it is not significant. To be more specific, 72% of the time, the slope is not significant. But when it is, 90% of the time, it is positive (144 seasons).

Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran’s 24,

sbase = base[base$series_name=="Community",]

Álex Pina’s La Casa de Papel,

sbase = base[base$series_name=="Community",]

x Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders,

x David Simon’s The Wire,

If we loop again over all our series, we have 485 pairs of consecutive seasons. As expected, in 75% of the casse, from season t-1 to season t, we observe a negative rupture. As previously, in 70% of the cases, it is not significat (with linear models before and after), and when it is significant, it is negative in 96% of the cases !


x David Benioff and D. B. Weiss’s Game of Thrones,



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