Emmy Viewership Is Flat, Key Viewer Demo Loses Ground

CBS’ “Emmy Awards” eked out comparable results to a year ago, which posted an all-time low in total viewers.

Nielsen says the Sunday awards ceremony posted a 0.9% increase to 11.4 million viewers, compared to 2016’s 11.3 million. At the same time, TV advertisers' key 18-49 viewers declined 11% to a Nielsen 2.5 rating.

These numbers were down from last year’s low of a 2.8.

ABC televised the event in 2016, which was down from 2015. In 2015, airing on the Fox network, the show had 11.9 million viewers and a 3.6 rating among 18-49 viewers.

The Emmys' big competition -- as it has been for many years -- was NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” The game between Green Bay and Atlanta posted 18.5 million viewers and a 6.4 rating among 18-49 viewers.

The results were down from the week before: 21.7 million viewers and an 8 rating among 18-49 viewers.

Weekend TV programming results continue to be impacted by Florida TV markets, slowly tallying viewing results stemming from major outages caused by the recent hurricane.  

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13 comments about "Emmy Viewership Is Flat, Key Viewer Demo Loses Ground".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 19, 2017 at 9:58 a.m.

    Maybe attacking a sitting President is not a great strategy in primetime, just because it works so well in late-night.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, September 19, 2017 at 10:15 a.m.

    Of course, these are just average commercial minute audience estimates and they do not reflect delayed viewing nor additional exposure on digital venues. We should also note that long duration content, such as the "Emmys", reaches many people who drop in then drop out of the audience as well as those tuning in late, dial switching to another channel or calling it a night early.And then there are those people who watched the show but zapped the commercials---both on a "live" basis and later, via their DVRs. So we don't really know how many people watched the Emmys to at least some extent---do we?

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 19, 2017 at 10:16 a.m.

    More people do not watch and do not have Netflix and Hulu and the cable stations which add costs to watch, some in packages at an extra $100/mo. and are not familiar with the programs nominated for the Emmy's and therefore interest in watching the Emmy's wanes. Unless they start to recognize more broadcast network shows (arguing about quality is another story)which do have greater number of watchers at the Emmy awards, the audience will not increase. 

  4. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, September 19, 2017 at 12:40 p.m.

    Douglas Ferguson is likely wrong.  The Sean Spicer appearance was brilliant!  If Douglas is suggesting that viewers stopped viewing after that phenomenal stunt, he understands neither TV nor politics.

    Paula Lynn has put forward an interesting hypothesis.  If you don't recognize the programs nominated, it is hard to have a rooting interest, let alone a viewing occasion.

    As usual, Ed Papazian makes the truly solid audience research points.  Network refusal to use TA (Total Audience - Unduplicated - Cume) data as a measure of program performance remains mystifying to me after 40+ years.  Understanding the TA and AA simultaneously gives one a way to appreciate audience turnover, among other phenomena.

    Even so, Wayne, the audience is not flat is it goes up a tenth of an AA rating point and major markets in Florida and homes in Texas remain out of tab due to natural disasters.  Let's be reasonable.  (I do understand the concept of statistical significance, as you do, but you get my point.)

    Finally, Wayne, you overlooked the audience to PBS's premiere episode of the Burns/Novick Vietnam War 10-part documentary.  The overlap in the scheduling of the PBS series and the CBS special was most unfortunate for viewers.  The initial episode was stunning, enlightening and sobering.  Fortunately, PBS is making it possible to see all 10 parts through next-day streaming.

    Let's see an interesting story about this crucial PBS Documentary.  It should be more than about ratings.

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  6. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC replied, September 19, 2017 at 1:03 p.m.

    Episodes: 

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    Episode Two: "Riding the Tiger" 1961-1963 
    Episode Three: "The River Styx" January 1964 - December 1965 
    Episode Four: "Resolve" January 1966 - June 1967 
    Episode Five: "This Is What We Do" July 1967 - December 1967 
    Episode Six: "Things Fall Apart" January 1968 - July 1968 
    Episode Seven: "The Veneer of Civilization" June 1968 - May 1969 
    Episode Eight: "The History of the World" April 1969 - May 1970 
    Episode Nine: "A Disrespectful Loyalty" May 1970 - March 1973 
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  7. John Grono from GAP Research replied, September 19, 2017 at 11:51 p.m.

    Nicholas, I have to agree regarding 'twinning' the AA and TA (which we call Reach here in Australia) is totally logical.

    The AA is probably the best indicator of the likely audience to a single ad.   But the TA tells the advertiser the potential audience that a series of ads could achieve.

    One of my favourite derived metrics is AA/TA as it provides a guide as to 'in-programme loyalty'.   If the AA is (say) 5 million and the TA is (say) 10 million then it means that of those people who watched the programme on average they watched just half and that there is a one-in-two chance that you ad would be seen.   But if it was a TA of (say) 6.25 million then people watch a lot more of the programme and you have an 80% chance of your ad being seen.

    I know there are caveats around 'ads being seen/recognised/recalled', but I know which of these two programmes with the same AA I would rather have my ad in!

  8. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 20, 2017 at 10:18 a.m.

    I, too, am surprised that the TV networks pay so little attention to the "total Audience" metrics of their telecasts, whether live or delayed, as such tallies reveal the degree to which the shows were sampled and, as John points out, when coupled with average minute ratings, the degree to which they "held" their viewers. It used to be standard practice in the old days to cite total audience estimates, especially when specials or major events were televised. I wonder why this aspect---in effect, the reach of each telecast---has been forgotten.

  9. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, September 20, 2017 at 5:12 p.m.

    Dear John and Ed,

    I appreciate your sage commentary on the value of the TA alone or framed by the AA ... or the TA framing the AA.

    It's all good and valuable perspective.

    John, years ago I had the good fortune of working with Group W's Jim Yergin as he refined (and made simple & easy) the concept of Reach & Frequency Analysis for local radio advertising.  (In addition to a computer program that could be operated from the buyer's desk, he developed what I think was called the New Math Slide Rule.  Regardless of the name, it was brilliant "stuff."  I sought to do the same for Network Radio on a national level for NBC with the R&F Calculator.  I am certain that Ed remembers these efforts and research pioneers like Jim.  However, we are blessed to have Mr. Papazian among us today still engaging in pioneering audience measurement and analysis.

    Thank you.

    Peace,
    Nick

  10. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 20, 2017 at 5:49 p.m.

    Thanks Nick. Yes, I remember Jim and his work. Those were the days when we had real researchers helping the media and working with their agency counterparts---myself being one of them until I became a media director. I hope that the same sort of relationships are still in place today.

  11. John Grono from GAP Research, September 20, 2017 at 6:03 p.m.

    Interesting you should mention radio R&F for local radio advertising.   While yourself, Ed and many others such as Erwin are well known in Australia, I will have to do my homework on Jim.

    I also work on radio, and while we have robust calculators for metro R&F (i.e. for weekly diary data, or for meter-based markets), providing similar tools for our regional areas is a challenge.    Basically, they don't have the ad-revenue base to fund an eight-week diary sweep   Also they tend to have only a handful of commerical stations that may want to fund surveys.   Many of these markets have not been measured for decades.

    So, we successfully tested a CATI based 'Station Listened To Most' (by session) that allows us to economically survey samples of typically n=800 to n=1200 in a week and get the results to market a further week later, and have now surveyed more than 50 markets.

    While SLTM doesn't quantify the amount of listening, but more the quantum of listeners, it does give the sales team something to sell off, and agencies a guide to their investment strategies.   In all of the markets surveyed revenue has increased more than the cost.

    The 'but' is that now the reps and agencies want 'full-blown' R&F calculators/estimators.  Given the small sample sizes, the lack of longitudinal data, and the lack of intensity of listening it is proving a mathematical challenge in providing differentiation by demo, station mix and campaign duration.

    Myself, the Technical Committee and another technical consultants are testing and trialling various NBD-based models but not yet with 100% success rate.

    If you have any idea or pointers it would be much appreciated.

  12. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 20, 2017 at 6:37 p.m.

    John, the basic problem with radio reach tables is the fact that until recently they were all based on a one -week time frame because Arbitron's diaries were limited to that span. The diary method seriously shortchanged radio stations as to reach on a weekly basis because it was filled out by memory--usually after the fact--- by most respondents who overstated their degree of listening to a few favorite stations but failed to record sampling of many other stations.

    A number of years ago, while the diaries were still in vogue, I believe the RAB funded a two- week diary study,  ( or it may have been of longer duration ) which showed a 15-20% reach build per station over the one-week levels, but then the PPMs arrived and there was no need for more diary-based tables. The PPMs found  a) much lower listening that the diares per quarter hour but b) much higher reach levels for most stations.

    I happen to have seen four- week PPM tallies for a number of stations and station types which revealed considerably higher reach attainment gains over one -week levels for many stations --- more or less like we see with many cable channels. Sadly, however, since the Arbitron system had been set up on a one -week basis, this is the primary reporting frame for the PPM reports now put out by Nielsen and we seem to be the only independent source for both one- and four- week reach tables that I am familiar with. This is discussed in one of our special reports--"Radio's Surprising Reach & Frequency Capabilities" ---which is part of our new Media Insights & Data Service and is available via our website for the modest price of $85. It also provides some of our reach estimates in tabular form. Otherwise our American RAB may have some data that they might share, but I can't say for sure.

    A final comment about using diaries to define reach over long periods of time. In my opinion. an eight-week diary keeping stint---which is problematic in terms of cooperation  rates and compliance to begin with----would not provide a true picture of the reach buildup for many stations as the weeks went by. Gains, yes, but probably not nearly what an electronic methodology like the PPMs would pick up.

  13. John Grono from GAP Research, September 20, 2017 at 7 p.m.

    Ed, totally agree that an eight-week diary is an horrific thought.   Fatigue, refusal, box-ticking etc.

    What we're doing is using the single-week accumulation on a day-by-day basis, and calculating the a,k parameters for the Negative Binomial Distribution.   While the cume in a week is significant the forward projection is not always robust at the demo level or station by station.

    It could be a problem without a solution - apart from some (expensive) bespoke bedrock surveys that could be used to quantify the parameters that could be applied across time and markets.

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