Network TV Premieres Get DVR Viewership Spike

FOX's Fringe

The first week of the new season showed TV's biggest programs grabbing even more viewership from DVR playback after seven days.

Some of the top-rated network shows added anywhere between 20% and 40% more adult 18-49 viewers after seven days of DVR playback.

TV executives say DVR machines and technology are now in some 33% of TV homes, up from 27% a year ago. All of this has resulted in generally more time-shifting of TV shows.

ABC's top-rated "Grey's Anatomy" climbed 22.4% to an 8.2 adult 18-49 rating, up from its 6.7 live-plus-same-day DVR playback rating. Fox's "House" took in 20.6% more, also rising to an 8.2 adult 18-49 number. NBC's "The Office" was next, with a 25.6% improvement to a 4.9 rating.

The best gainers were some of the weaker-rated live-plus-same-day DVR playback-rated shows -- Fox's "Fringe" and NBC's "Heroes." "Fringe" took in 39.1% more adult 18-49 viewers, rising to a 3.2 rating from a 2.3 number. "Heroes" climbed to a 3.7, for a 32.1% gain.



Comedies generally fared worse than drama when adding DVR playback. CBS' "Big Bang Theory" took in 19.1% more for a 5.6 rating, and "Two and a Half Men" was up 15.6% to a 5.2 rating. Fox's "Family Guy" rose to a 5.9 rating, for an 11.3% gain; "The Simpsons" earned a 4.6 rating, at 7% more; and Fox's new "Cleveland Show" had an 8.2% improvement to a 5.3 rating.

The best-performing new show -- when it came to time-shifted viewing gains -- was "Glee," at 25.8% for a 3.9 rating. Next was NBC's "Community." The middle-level-rated 18-49 show improved 25% to a 3.5 rating. ABC's "Modern Family" grew 14.3% to a 4.8 rating.

NBC predicted that its "Jay Leno Show" at 10 p.m. would be, for the most part, 'DVR proof' -- and so far, that has been the case. His shows have seen mostly low-single-digit percentage gains -- led by his Friday show, on September 25, with a 6.3% hike to a 1.7 rating.

As a network, the CW continued to reap benefits from it young skew-in and its tech-savvy viewers. "Gossip Girl" jumped 36.4% to a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating, and 30.4% to 2.6 million viewers; "90210" surged 40% to a 1.4 adults 18-49 rating and 31.2% to 2.6 million viewers; "Melrose Place" grew 37.5% in 18-49 viewers to a 1.1 rating and climbed 32.3% in total viewers to 1.9 million.

While many TV networks would like advertisers to consider seven days of DVR data, TV marketers continue to ink deals using three days of DVR data attached to commercial ratings of those TV shows, not program content viewership.

1 comment about "Network TV Premieres Get DVR Viewership Spike".
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  1. Rob Frydlewicz from DentsuAegis, October 13, 2009 at 4:48 p.m.

    Since it's usually the first news stories that readers remember best, by the time the "real" ratings come out weeks after the initial/partial audience data it's a challenge to change reader perceptions. And then analyses based on C3 ratings will generate even more stories that will contribute to advertiser/client confusion even more. Gosh, and we thought it was a challenge getting clients and our non-research colleagues to understand the ratings back in the "old days"!

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