With On Demand Options, Viewing Builds for Weeks

Nielsen says after seven day window, DVR use shrinks and digital usage grows
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With more on demand options available to them, viewers continue to watch TV programming long after it airs and recent data from Nielsen says that if you measure for five weeks, digital consumption can account for 40% of an episode’s viewership.

In the nearly completed upfront ad market for the 2016-17 season, most networks say they were able to charge advertisers for live viewing plus seven days’ worth of delayed viewing using the C7 metric. That’s up from three days using C3. However, Nielsen suggests there are many more eyeballs that can be monetized.

As the time elapsed since airing grows, a greater proportion of viewing happens on demand or via online sites versus on a DVR, and there are opportunities to cash in on those viewers—particularly the younger ones.

Nielsen’s data shows that different programs behave differently when it comes to delayed viewing.

Related: Nielsen: SVOD Penetration Equals DVRs in U.S.

“Not all programs get the same lift after seven days, and for programs that get greater lift it’s due to VOD contribution,” said Glenn Enoch, senior VP, audience insights, Nielsen. “VOD contribution goes on forever, while DVR viewing tends to drop over time.”

In a recent study originally presented during Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Conference on how audiences build over time, Nielsen found that while virtually all programs’ ratings benefited from extended viewing, genre had a direct effect on the amount of audience increase. 

Naturally, programs that did not have time-sensitive content got the greatest amount of lift.

On the other hand, reality-type programming, which typically incorporates a real-time aspect into the show, creates a sense of urgency in viewers to watch as events unfold. Consequently, more than half of total viewing occurs as the shows air live.

Nielsen provided data on 13 unnamed programs.

It shows that series that got the smallest lifts after day seven were two reality/competition shows with 4% and 5% increases. Three episodes of serialized dramas were next with lifts of 10% to 13%.

The lifts were larger for other genres. Three episodic dramas had lifts of 16% to 30% and three sitcoms grew their audiences by 17% to 32%.

The biggest lifts came from two animated comedies. One was up 52%, the other 58%.

The new data is partly the result of Nielsen's new Total Content Rating measurement system, which incorporates more ways of viewing over a longer time period.

Nielsen says that over a six-week period, digital audiences grew the most and had as much as a 135% increase in viewership from week one to week six among viewers 18-49. Nielsen says this shows viewers playing catch up on shows they might have heard about.

In one instance, a premiere episode of a show was still receiving viewership after five weeks, with 60% of viewing coming from DVR and 40% coming from total digital viewing. During the first week, 70% of viewing was from DVR, while 3% was from total digital viewing.

“Total Content Ratings provides more insight than just the volume of viewing over time, or on additional platforms,” said Enoch. “We know that on-demand viewers spend more time with the content, and we know that on-demand viewers are younger than those who view live.”