After years of griping that Nielsen was not measuring viewing on digital video recorders (DVRs), TV network and ad execs finally got their wish. Nielsen's new ratings including DVR data popped out last week, and the results were, well, underwhelming.
On broadcast TV, the big winner-and we use the word "big" with tongue firmly in cheek-was ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which picked up an astoundingly small 40 additional viewers when the same-day playback was factored in. (The live showing averaged 10 million total viewers). CBS' Criminal Minds snagged 24 extra viewers, and the audience for NBC's Medium came alive with 23 more viewers.
The most played-back show on TV was a repeat of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on USA Network, which mustered 45 extra viewers for a Dec. 30 episode.
Nielsen warned clients that results would be nothing spectacular. That's because there are only 60 DVR homes in the 10,000-household national ratings sample. Nielsen plans to add 100 DVR households per month until it reaches 700-1,000 DVR users.
But even now, if the networks slice and dice the ratings-as they so often do-most will find some new bragging right. Of network sitcoms, CBS can boast its freshman comedy Out of Practice was the most played back. It had eight additional viewers!