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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

MASTERPIECE Mystery! Insider Email

Audience Honor in Email


In the email arena, MASTERPIECE's core effort has been on our weekly, general emails that support the more than 40 shows under the larger MASTERPIECE drama umbrella. MASTERPIECE emails reach more than 1.5M subscribers.

To better serve fans enthralled with individual MASTERPIECE shows,  we launched separate sign up “insider” emails, singularly focused on period dramas including All Creatures Great and SmallPoldark, and Victoria among others. Written in a fan-friendly, resonant voice, and delivered episodically while the shows are broadcast, these “insider” newsletters continue with show updates throughout the year, creating a lasting and meaningful relationship with fans. In focus groups, fans have told us that they treasure these “insider” emails, and fans return to read and savor them several times.

While noted for our period dramas, MASTERPIECE has long been immersed in the mystery genre, delivering iconic shows including Prime SuspectSherlock and Grantchester, all introduced by Edward Gorey’s beguilingly macabre animated artwork in our opening credits.

We knew that an “insider” email related to just one particular mystery show wasn’t enough for our devoted fan base. We wanted  to take the best of our show-specific “insider” content and experience, and create a more immersive, playful “insider” email that could also spotlight the wider world of mystery — history, books, iconic figures, etc. The MASTERPIECE Mystery! Insider launched in September, 2022 in support of our three fall shows (Miss Scarlet and The DukeMagpie MurdersAnnika) and in celebration of the larger mystery genre we love.

Strategy and Execution



Crafting a rich and immersive email design has been a hallmark of our “insider” emails. For the MASTERPIECE Mystery! Insider, we turned to the beloved art of Edward Gorey. A number of Gorey’s cheerfully gothic design elements were swapped out during the limited email series, offering eagle-eyed fans another surprising and changing element. In a special Halloween edition, spooky Gorey elements ran through the newsletter, ending with a delightful animated gif.

In another playful effort to give fans a mystery of their own to solve, we replicated a long-running Easter egg from the MASTERPIECE broadcast end credits, wherein red letters are sprinkled throughout the credits to spell a word cryptically related to the show. Likewise in our emails, red letters surreptitiously sprinkled in the text stood out from the black text and when all strung together, offered fans a word associated with the shows or the newsletter. This clever technique also inspired readers to scroll all the way down to enjoy the full email.


Proven, fan-favorite content related to the broadcast shows provided the sturdy backbone for this email series: exclusive text and video cast  interviews, fascinating facts about show stars, quizzes, etc. But, the MASTERPIECE Mystery! Insider offered a full lineup that went beyond the usual suspects, delving into the series’ 40+ year archive and spotlighting MASTERPIECE Mystery! icons like Alan Cumming and Diana Rigg in exclusive, in-email content. Immersive features on history’s real-life female detectives, the life of Edward Gorey, and a mystery-themed sweepstakes intrigued fans.  To foster community, subscribers shared their favorite spine-tingling mystery books, which were then published in the newsletter.  Our special Halloween edition offered a profile of master of horror Vincent Price, a former host of MASTERPIECE Mystery!, a podcast of Sherlock creator Mark Gatiss telling his real-life ghost story, and more.



The MASTERPIECE Mystery! Insider email newsletter reached 60K subscribers in its initial six week period. The average open rate for the Insider was 66%, double that of  the general, weekly emails sent in this period. The click rate for the Insider was 15.4%, 4 times higher than that of the general email.

An email survey to subscribers after the initial run of the MASTERPIECE Mystery! Insider email showed subscriber satisfaction at 8.8 out of 10.  A full 90% of respondents found more interest in the MASTERPIECE shows because of the newsletter.


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