It's Early, But Viewers Again Watch Broadcast Primetime Series on DVR in Droves
By John Consoli -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/28/2012 2:22:16 PM
Of 17 returning shows that made their season premieres prior to this week, 10 outpaced their live-plus-three-day gains from last season, which were up significantly from the 2010-11 season.
Viewers, it appears, are trying to catch as many shows as possible, though more of them are watching in DVR playback mode than last season, which could mean a lot more commercial skipping. The Nielsen numbers, however, do not include data from the official premiere week, which began on Sept. 24, when the bulk of the new and returning shows began airing their new season episodes.
Still, the early increased percentages in delayed viewing for some of the shows are sizable. On NBC, the season premiere of The Office on Sept. 20 drew a live-plus-same-day 18-49 rating of 2.1, but its live-plus-three-day rating was a 3.0-a 43% increase. And that's on top of a 39% increase that The Office had for live-plus-three-day viewing last season vs. the 2010-11 season.
Through the first two new episodes of NBC's Parenthood, which premiered its season on Sept. 11, the series averaged a 1.8 18-49 rating live and a 2.5 live-plus-three-day rating, a 35% increase over last season, which was up 37% from the 2010-11 season.
Also on NBC, Parks and Recreation premiered on Sept. 20 with a live 1.7 rating which grew to a 2.3 for live-plus-three-days, itself a 35% increase over last year's live-plus-three-day rating. And Up All Night, which premiered the same night, drew a 1.3 live rating that rose to a 1.8 over the three-day period, a 38% increase.
The first two episodes of NBC's The Voice on Mondays averaged a 4.5 live rating and a 5.2 live-plus-three-day rating, and two episodes of The Voice on Tuesdays averaged a 4.3 live rating, which jumped up to a 5.0 for three days, increases of 16% for each of the nights over last season.
On a percentage-of-increase basis, NBC's Grimm showed the largest gain from live to three-day ratings. Grimm, which premiered on Aug. 13 and aired four new episodes during the Nielsen measurement period, averaged a 1.7 18-49 live rating, which shot up to a 2.6 rating over three days, a 53% increase. And that was on top of a 60% increase it showed over 2010-11.
The increases for Fox's returning shows were also high. Glee's first two episodes this season averaged a 3.0 same-day rating, which rose to a 4.2 for three days, an increase of 40%. Bones premiered with a live rating of 2.3, rising to a 2.9, which was a 28% increase in its 18-49 rating. The X Factor saw its live 18-49 rating for its first two episodes on Wednesday and Thursday rise 17% and 16% respectively for live-plus-three-day numbers.
On ABC, Shark Tank premiered with a 1.8 18-49 rating that rose to 2.2 for live-plus-three-day, a hike of 22%. On CBS, Survivor: Philippines premiered with a live rating of 3.2 that grew to 3.7 through three days, a 16% increase.
When judging whether a new series is successful or not, the live-plus-three-day ratings have to be factored in. Fox's Mob Doctor premiered with a 1.5 but rose to a 1.7 in the three days that followed, an increase of 20%. That is not an especially impressive a total.
Two episodes of NBC's freshman series The New Normal averaged a 2.4 live, but that grew to a 3.0 when factoring in the three days, an increase of 26%. And NBC's much-hyped sci-fi series Revolution premiered with a live 18-49 rating of 4.1, but that increased to a 5.4 in live-plus-three-days, a ratings hike of 32%.
There are many more shows to consider, and the bulk of the premieres are happening this week. So the next round of Nielsen data on live-plus-three-day ratings vs. live will shed even more light on the continuing growth of viewers relying more on watching primetime favorites in delayed mode. Advertisers should be watching this data carefully.
DVR viewing isn't necessarily bad for advertisers. Even though I'm skipping thru commercials, my brain is still registering what is being advertised. The most valuable ad space is the last one of the commercial break, as it is always viewed when you "over-shoot".
Nielsen's Live+3 is data that they are actively marketing, but what about Live+45? Unless it is sports or a reality show that can be spoiled by outside information, you don't always get to your shows within 3 days.
Netflix, DVDs and PVRs have made "binge viewing" of a show easy. The former two concentrate on previous seasons, while the latter if more likely the current season. Viewing should be tracked and reported with a much wider net.
FrankM - 10/1/2012 1:08:41 PM EDT
The problem with all this is that the c3 rating, which reflects people who saw the commercials, is not that different than the live plus same day ratings reported by the press. Perhaps you can do a follow up story demonstrating that when the c3 data becomes available for premiere week.
Darin Stephens - 9/28/2012 3:56:05 PM EDT
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