Where are the TV hits this season?
As Joe Mandese, editor in chief of MediaPost, would respond with a question of his own when it comes to complex media industry questions: Define "hit."
And from this, you'll get a bunch of answers -- especially with regard to new shows. Is it improving on its lead-in programming? Is it trending higher results? Are there key pockets of viewers growing? And what about digital exposure?
For many of us, we can only look at broad results such as overall viewers when it comes to new shows.
For example, CBS' “Murphy Brown” is not doing so well -- ranked in 36th place in the most recent week and averaging a Nielsen 4.8 million viewers, when it comes to live-plus-same day time-shifted viewing.
NBC’s “Manifest”, ranked 27th, is averaging 5.6 million viewers. ABC’s “The Rookie” is sitting in 41st place with 4.1 million average viewers. And last season, the returning (new?) show that is now called “The Conners” (née “Roseanne”) on ABC comes in at 19th place, with 6.9 million.
Many networks have plenty of these "iffy" series. The best show so far, CBS’ “FBI”, is ranked in 8th place at 8.9 million. So that is a "hit," right?
Well, it's complicated. We know that all viewing for any TV series’ episodes can take place three, seven, or even 30 days after their initial airing.
Does this help consumers to come to their programming viewing decisions? To some extent, it should. Knowing whether a show will be around to invest one’s precious entertainment time in is important.
And this just in: Two CBS shows -- “Murphy Brown” and “Happy Together” (37th place and 4.7 million average viewers) -- won't make it for another season. So.. no hits there.
Adding in other health factors of TV shows would seem to be necessary here for consumers -- perhaps not just including delayed viewing on traditional TV platforms, but also VOD and OTT platforms. All this parallels something that traditional TV marketers have been asking of the TV industry for some time -- a full, easy-to-understand picture of the media's performance and the audiences they are buying.
Consumers may need the same thing when it comes to the news stories. Why not include how much money these shows might be making -- collectively -- from advertising, retransmission, and off-network revenue?
Crazy? Already savvy entertainment consumers get this consumer media news in one area: Every week, news operations and publications list the most popular U.S. theatrical movies for the previous weekend -- in box office dollars.
For the most recent weekend, November 23 through 25, Walt Disney's animated “Ralph Breaks the Internet” pulled in a big $56.2 million in U.S. box office revenues -- notching the best results.
No need to define what that means.