Optimedia Revamps Content Power Ratings, Show Standings Improve

Media agency Optimedia U.S.'s new Content Power Ratings reveal that in many cases, hit TV shows are still big performers for advertisers when considering new factors: online and mobile extensions, digital buzz and consumer involvement.

TV's top-rated show "American Idol" was the best in terms of Optimedia's Content Power Ratings list, the third such list it has produced. For its ratings, Optimedia factors in TV audience, Web and mobile viewing, viewer involvement and viewer advocacy of TV shows.

"Idol" ranked first for calendar year 2008. ABC's "Lost" was second; NBC's "The Office" was third; ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" came in fourth place; and ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" was in fifth place. In sixth place was NBC's "Heroes"; then Fox's "Family Guy"; CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"; CBS' "Survivor"; and Fox's "House" -- rounding out the top 10.

Of these, ABC's "Lost," NBC's "The Office," NBC's "Heroes" and ABC's "Ugly Betty" (which came in at 18th place) -- seem to benefit the most from non-TV-related rating data -- online, buzz and other extensions. Those shows' traditional overall viewership was generally lower than in Optimedia's rankings.

Conversely, some CBS shows -- which have higher TV traditional ratings -- didn't place as high with Content Power Ratings. This included "The Mentalist," "Two and A Half Men" and "Without A Trace."

Some narrowly targeted cable programming -- and CW network shows -- may have seen the best results from these rankings. "Gossip Girl" scored a 19th-place spot, although it came in 118th place in traditional TV viewership.

AMC's "Mad Me" ranked No. 30, with the highest content power ratings for a cable program. Showtime's "Dexter" was in the 33rd spot, and Showtime's "Weeds" came in at 41. These three shows have much smaller TV ratings than many bigger-rated ad-supported cable shows on USA, TNT, and TBS.

Looking at trends year-to-year, Optimedia notes that comedies showed improvement versus that of science fiction-themed shows.

Going into the upfront, Antony Young, CEO of Optimedia U.S., says there are four factors his agency will be noting from TV program sellers: the networks' online video strategy, their cross-platform extensions of TV shows, TV networks' program marketing plans and shows that have a high rating and high viewer involvement.

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