Looking to Reach Women in Daytime TV? Syndication Is a Solid Alternative
By John Consoli -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/7/2012 2:11:10 PM
True, The Oprah Winfrey Show may be gone, but there is a new queen of daytime TV, and she works her magic with a gavel instead of a smile. Actually, it's not even fair to tab Judge Judy Sheindlin as the new queen, since Judge Judy was earning higher ratings than Oprah during Winfrey's last two years on syndicated television.
Even Brad Adgate, senior VP of research for Horizon Media, is ready to correct the notion. "Judge Judy is the new Oprah of daytime TV-actually, she was [already] beating Oprah while Oprah was still on."
Now in its 17th season, Judge Judy, according to Nielsen data, is averaging 9 million viewers per day, with 5.7 million of those being women. Included in those female numbers is a 2.4 women 18-49 demo rating and a 3.3 women 25-54 demo rating. While the series has a median age viewer of 60, that is on par with almost every other syndicated daytime show, as well as the broadcast network daytime soaps, talk and game shows.
"The syndicated TV daytime audience skews heavy older women because they are mainly the people who are home during the day," Adgate says.
Each of the four remaining soap operas on the broadcast networks -- Days of Our Lives on NBC, General Hospital on ABC and The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful on CBS -- have median-age audiences of between 55 and 59. Talk and cooking shows such as CBS' The Talk and ABC's The View and The Chew have median-age audiences of 59-61, while game show The Price is Right is up at 64. Judge Judy, therefore, is right in that wheelhouse, as are other daytime syndicated programs.
The second most-watched daytime syndicated show is game show Family Feud, which has been averaging 5.9 million viewers with 3.8 million of those being women since mid-September; the median age of its viewers is 57. Dr. Phil is next, averaging 3.8 million viewers since mid-September, with 2.9 million of those being women and a median age of 59.
Other top syndicated series reaching mostly women this season include The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which is averaging 3.1 million viewers of which 2.3 million are women; The Dr. Oz Show, averaging 3 million viewers, of which 2.3 million are women; Judge Joe Brown and Live! With Kelly and Michael, both averaging 3.3 million viewers and 2 million women; the new Katie Couric show Katie, averaging 2.4 million viewers and 1.8 million women; and Maury and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, both averaging 3 million viewers and 1.9 million women.
Other daytime syndicated shows averaging more than 1 million women per day include: The People's Court, 1.6 million women; The Wendy Williams Show, 1.4 million; The Rachael Ray Show and Judge Mathis, 1.3 million each; Judge Alex and the new Steve Harvey talk show, 1.2 million each; and Divorce Court and Jerry Springer, 1.1 million women each.
The broadcast network daytime shows do reach more women than most of the syndicated daytime shows do, but there are fewer of them. The most watched broadcast daytime series is CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless, which averages about 4.5 million viewers with 3.4 million being women. That would rank it third among all daytime shows watched by women, behind Judge Judy and Family Feud and just ahead of Dr. Phil.
The Price Is Right, currently the oldest-skewing daytime series, draws about 2.5 million women for its 11 a.m. show and 3 million women for its 11:30 a.m. show. The View averages 2.7 million women, The Bold and the Beautiful draws 2.4 million women, General Hospital and Days of Our Lives about 1.8 million women each and The Talk and The Chew about 1.7 million viewers each.
While broadcast daytime shows do draw more viewers, the Syndicated Network Television Association points out in a recent study that daytime syndication offers 68% of ad impressions targeting women 18-49 and 66% of impressions targeting women 25-54.
That same study adds that Judge Judy (3.3), Maury (1.7) and Family Feud (1.4) draw higher women 18-49 ratings than the broadcast network daytime shows, and that Dr. Phil (1.3) ties CBS' The Young and the Restless in the 18-49 women's demo category. Live! With Kelly and Michael (1.1) and Ellen (1.1) are next in the demo, ahead of ABC's The View (1.0), which has a similar demo rating to Judge Joe Brown. The study collected numbers just prior to the start of the new season in September; while a few of the ratings numbers have changed, the order remains pretty much the same.
Among women 25-54, Judge Judy is the clear leader, averaging a 3.3, followed by The Young and the Restless, trailing considerably with a 1.8. Syndicated series Dr. Phil, Maury, Family Feud, Ellen and Live! With Kelly and Michael are next, ahead of The View, The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital.
All said, there aren't too many successful new daytime syndicated series this season when it comes to reaching women viewers. Other than Katie and Steve Harvey, no other new series is averaging more than 1 million female viewers per day. The new Jeff Probst and Ricki Lake shows are averaging about 650,000 female viewers per day each.
Adgate says it's simply harder to succeed with a new syndicated series today, whether it be for daytime or at night. He adds that many of the current syndicated series would have been failures had they been on a decade ago, based on their current ratings numbers.
"The bar for being a syndication hit, or even staying on the air, has been lowered," Adgate says. "Today, the long-time syndicated series keep drawing steady audiences each year and they are joined only by off-network comedies that move into syndication. Even the Oprah audience has splintered with each of the daytime shows picking up little pieces of her former audience."
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