Tuesday, 26 April 2016 12:23

Yellowfin data visualisation: can it answer the ‘is Jon Snow dead’ question?


Can Yellowfin’s data visualisation deliver the Yellowfinal answer as to whether Game of Thrones character Jon Snow is dead? Let’s take a look…

Business Intelligence, data visualisation and analytics technology company Yellowfin has jumped upon the Game of Thrones (GoT) bandwagon with a potential answer to a crucial question.

The company has done this on the dat after GoT fans around the world were finally able to devour the global airing of episode one of season six, putting its data geeks to work crunching data using Yellowfin’s data visualisation technology to ultimately answer the question: ‘Is Jon Snow dead?’.

As is to be expected, GoT fans have been speculating Snow’s (Kit Harington) fate since the finale of season five and it remains one of the most urgent questions asked by GoT buffs in the lead-up to season six, with even Apple’s Siri getting in on the GoT act with some hilarious answers to the puzzling question.

Yellowfin says that its data visualisation technology ‘reveals the answer can be found in the correlation between viewer ratings and the number of main character deaths per season.’

According to official HBO viewership figures and online download numbers from Torrent, we’re told that the number of GoT faithful has steadily increased season-to-season.

However, in what may end up as devastating as getting an invite to a Red Wedding, or to the lifespan of Jon Snow, IMDb data reveals that ‘viewer sentiment and ratings have stumbled and declined.’

In pops Lachlan James, Communications Manager of Yellowfin and GoT data cruncher, who said: “Interestingly, unlike viewership, the overall season rating has not increased each season.

“So, it begs the question: What factors in the Game of Thrones series have produced this seemingly erratic ratings pattern? And, importantly, does Jon Snow have anything to do with it?”

Deaths per season

Source: Data for major character deaths per season was obtained from the washingtonpost.com

Disclaimer: This data assumes that Stannis Baratheon and Jon Snow have actually been killed (there is much fan speculation and suspicion regarding the finality of these apparent ‘deaths’)

More below, please read on!

Yellowfin says its data analysis ‘reveals fans actually feed off the shocking demise of seemingly central characters. That is, when the main character head count decreases from one season to the next, the average IMDb viewer ratings also decline for that season.’

When the number of central characters killed-off increases, so does the average IMDb viewer ratings for that season.

For example, Yellowfin notes that ‘season one started with four major character deaths and enjoyed an average rating of nine. Season four took it up a notch, disposing of seven central characters (most of any season), which saw the average season rating jump to its highest recorded point (9.23).’

Then Season five ‘saw a dip in viewer ratings to 8.74 (the lowest average for any season so far) and a simultaneous reduction in major character fatalities to only three – and that is assuming Stannis Baratheon and Jon Snow have actually been killed.’

Yellowfin then notes ‘a small data anomaly appears between seasons two and five.’

Season two, with only one major character death, had the second lowest viewer rating of 8.86, yet season five with three ‘supposed’ deaths had a lower viewer rating of 8.74.

James asked: “This begs the question: Were there three deaths in season five, or can we deduce that neither Jon Snow or Stannis Baratheon are dead?

“The data analysis strongly supports that one major character death in season five would better align to the trend determined across earlier seasons. Just saying…

“We’ll leave it to show creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss to reveal all. However, the data tells the story – it seems that fans will not be deprived of favourite Jon Snow and his luscious locks on a permanent basis,” James concluded.

Here are some more GoT charts to ponder:

· Game of Thrones average rating per season (according to IMDb):


· Game of Thrones rating per episode by season (according to IMDb):


· Game of Thrones deviations from George RR Martin’s novels vs viewer ratings on IMDb per episode:


Yellowfin also offers a detailed blog on data visualisation which reveals how Game of Thrones season six can halt falling ratings - more detail here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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