New Crop of Fall Broadcast Series Hardly a Boon for Advertisers
By John Consoli -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/28/2012 9:40:56 AM
All of the networks except for NBC were doling out makegoods in December and if you factor out the two nights of The Voice and Sunday Night Football, NBC would also be close to a makegood situation too.
None of the series on any of the five English-language broadcast networks can be labeled breakout hits and even the few that have had some success do have some downside. While advertisers are protected through ratings guarantees and do get makegood commercials for ratings shortfalls, media buyers point out that most of their clients want to be in the programs they buy in the upfront rather than being shifted around to alternate programming they might not have been interested in.
NBC's new sci-fi drama Revolution is both the top-rated new drama and the top-rated new series in the adults 18-49 demo, averaging a 3.0 rating. The series is also the fifth highest-rated drama overall in the advertiser-desired demo behind CBS' NCIS, ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Once Upon a Time, and CBS' Criminal Minds. It is also the 16th highest rated series in broadcast primetime. The series also skews a bit younger than most broadcast dramas with a median age of 48.
However there are a couple of potential areas for marketers to be concerned about. The series is third in viewers among freshman series, but averaging only 8 million, a number that has been declining since it premiered. It is also off the air until March 25 and history has shown that broadcast network series -- particularly sci-fi series -- that take long hiatuses lose a significant number of viewers upon return, from which some never recover. NBC is betting that won't happen to Revolution.
After Revolution, there is a big dip in the 18-49 ratings among the new broadcast series. The second-highest rated new series in the demo are NBC sitcom Go On and CBS' drama Elementary, both with a 2.4. Go On is the top-rated new comedy, the 11th highest rated comedy and 29th highest rated series in the demo overall. Go On also skews a bit younger, with a median age of 46, and is averaging 6.3 million viewers. Elementary is the second highest rated new drama and is also the second most watched new drama, averaging 11 million viewers per episode. It skews older though, with a median age audience of 58, but that's in the ballpark of most drama series.
There are only two other new broadcast network series that averaged 2.0 18-49 rating in fourth quarter -- ABC drama Nashville and the already cancelled CBS sitcom Partners. Nashville is averaging 6.5 million viewers and has a median age audience of 53, while Partners was averaging 5.9 viewers and had a median age audience of 49.
Here's a list of the other new broadcast network series and their fourth quarter 18-49 ratings: ABC sitcom The Neighbors (1.9); CBS drama Vegas (1.9); NBC drama Chicago Fire (1.8); NBC sitcom The New Normal (1.8); Fox sitcom The Mindy Project (1.8); ABC drama 666 Park Avenue, which was recently pulled off the air, (1.5); ABC sitcom Malibu Country (1.5); ABC's cancelled drama Last Resort (1.5); NBC sitcom Guys with Kids (1.4); Fox sitcom Ben and Kate (1.4); NBC's cancelled sitcom Animal Practice (1.2); CW drama Arrow (1.2); Fox's cancelled drama The Mob Doctor (1.0); CBS' cancelled drama Made in Jersey (1.0); CW drama Beauty and the Beast (0.7); and CW's cancelled drama Emily Owens MD (0.4).
The new CBS drama Vegas is the most watched new series and the most watched new drama, averaging 11.3 million viewers, but it skews old with a median age of 61. Elementary is second, followed by Revolution. The CBS cancelled drama Made in Jersey was the fourth most watched new drama series before it was axed, averaging 7.3 million viewers, but what did the series in was its paltry 1.0 18-49 rating and its median age audience of 64, the oldest skewing series in primetime.
ABC's Last Resort was the fifth most watched new series, averaging 6.5 million viewers but like Made in Jersey, its low 18-49 rating of 1.5 resulted in the network pulling it. ABC drama Nashville is also averaging 6.5 million but is hovering right at a 2.0 in the 18-49 demo so it stays alive for now.
The most watched new sitcom this season has been ABC's The Neighbors, averaging 6.5 million, but it is also averaging below a 2.0 18-49 rating, with a 1.9.
Here's a list of the other new broadcast network series and their fourth quarter viewers per telecast averages: Go On (6.3 million); Chicago Fire (6.3 million); Partners (5.9 million); 666 Park Avenue (4.7 million); The New Normal (4.5 million); Animal Practice (4.2 million); Guys with Kids (4 million); The Mindy Project (3.4 million); Arrow (3.6 million); Mob Doctor (3.4 million); Ben and Kate (2.9 million); Beauty and the Beast (1.8 million); and Emily Owens MD (1.3 million).
Audience fragmentation resulting from more quality programming in cable primetime and more viewers watching TV programming in time-shifted mode has eroded the broadcast networks' live primetime viewership. While more viewers seem to be settling into shows as the season progresses, the networks other than NBC are still showing sizable declines over last year's fourth quarter in both viewers and in the 18-49 demo.
For all primetime programming in live-plus-same-day measurement based on Nielsen data among viewers 18-49, Fox's ratings are down 27.6% to a 2.1 from a 2.9; CBS is down 14.3% to a 2.4 from a 2.8; The CW is also down 14.3% to a 0.6 from a 0.7; and ABC is down 9.1% to a 2.0 from a 2.2. NBC is up 17.4% to a 2.7 from a 2.3.
Among total viewers in live-plus-same-day measurement, Fox is down 25.4% to 6.09 million per night from 8.16; CBS is down 8.4% to 10.12 million from 11.05; ABC is also down 8.4% to 7.54 million from 8.24 million; and The CW is down 3.8% to 1.52 million from 1.58. NBC is up 17.8% to 7.86 million from 6.68 million.
The numbers get a little better when looking at regularly scheduled programming in live-plus-three-day commercial ratings, with the most recent data available from Nielsen measured through Nov. 25.
Among viewers 18-49 of regularly scheduled programming in C3 ratings measurement, Fox and CBS are both down 18.5% to a 2.7 from a 2.2; The CW is down 14.3% to a 0.6 from a 0.7; and ABC is down 8.3% for a 2.2 from a 2.4. NBC is up 14.8% to a 3.1 from a 2.7.
Among total viewers measured in C3, Fox is down 20,7% to 5.65 million from 7.13; CBS is down 10.3% to 9.8 million from 10.93 million; ABC is down 9% to 8.06 million from 8.86 million; and The CW is down 8.7% to 1.52 million from 1.67 million. NBC is up 14.3% to 8.55 million from 7.48 million.
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