Contrary to most studies, all of television -- cable and broadcast -- had an improved year, thanks to all time-shifted viewing.
A new report from media agency RPA shows that for all time-shifted viewing -- live plus seven days of DVR playback -- total viewing among viewers two-plus increased 4% to 96.8 million program minutes (using Nielsen NTI data) in the 2009-2010 season.
Even 18-49 viewers -- the key buying group for TV advertisers -- improved 1% to 41.07 million program minutes versus the year before. RPA notes that DVR penetration was 36% for the year versus 30% the year before and 23% in the 2007-2008 year.
Looking at C3 ratings -- commercial ratings plus three days of DVR playback, a measure that TV advertisers use as the currency of their TV purchases -- viewing for total viewers was up 3% to 86.1 million program minutes. Adults 18-49 were down 1% in this category to 35.7 million program minutes.
Total viewing for all viewers was up in two other categories: live program same-day viewing, 2% higher to 93.1 million program minutes, and commercial ratings-plus-same-day-DVR-playback ratings, up 2% to 84.0 million program minutes.
The study -- put together by David Scardino, entertainment specialist for the agency -- also revealed a better picture for individual shows and their season finales. Of the 52 season finales, Scardino said, 22 showed gains versus the year before -- eight of which posted 10% better viewership than the year before. Some 32 series showed declines.
Still, Scardino writes, this is "a far more balanced tally than live plus same day shows."
Commercial ratings continue to show gains over live program ratings -- TV advertisers' previous financial metrics -- in all viewing groups. Total viewers are up 4% to 35.9 million; 18-49 viewers are 7% higher at 14.8 million; 18-34 viewers are up 9% to 6.3 million; 25-54 viewers have improved 7% to 12.7 million; and 25-54 viewers are 6% higher to 16.4 million.
In looking at viewers two-plus in C3 ratings, CBS gained 2% in prime time last season to 10.4 million average viewers; Fox had no change at 8.9 million; NBC was up 16% to 7.6 million; ABC dropped 6% to 7.5 million; and CW was down 5% to 1.6 million.