Analysis of longer time-shifted availability of network prime-time shows -- up to a week after their initial first airing -- may not be helping TV networks much.
There has been a drop in top non-sports shows this season -- those that garner more than a Nielsen-measured 10 million viewers, the live program-plus-time-shifted viewing through seven days (L7) -- 16 shows this year versus 24 a year ago.
These are non-sports broadcast prime-time shows, scripted and unscripted, through the first six weeks of the new season -- Sept. 23 through Nov. 3 -- versus the same time period a season ago.
Of those 16 shows this year, seven came from CBS -- including the top non-scripted TV series “NCIS,” averaging 15.7 million; NBC with six top 10 million-plus shows; Fox with two, and ABC with one.
NBC’s best result came from “This is Us,” which scored 12 million viewers. Fox’s “911” and “The Masked Singer” each had 10.6 million viewers. ABC’s “The Good Doctor” came in at 11.2 million.
Both NFL series -- "Sunday Night Football" and "Thursday Night Football" -- gained virtually nothing for time-shifted viewing through seven days -- up 1% each.
TV networks have pushed the idea network programming is still healthy despite programs being viewed increasingly on a time-shifted basis on its platforms or other via third-party digital video platforms. Many executives have said that looking at all these airings, viewing is about flat.
Last week, ABC said it would no longer release live program-plus-same day time-shifted viewing, a move that follows Fox, which made the same decision in 2015.
Wayne, of course average commercial minute ratings will continue to fragment. However if you take a show with 10 million average commercial minute "viewers" per airing that stat does not tell you how many watched that episode. For example, if you add those viewers who zapped the commercials, the figure can rise to 15 million and if you stretch out the time frame to two months ---- "C-60"--- and toss in digital exposures another 4-5 million may be added. Also, if you take all viewers who watched, say, 6 minutes of the program, but not a given minute---the per airing the number can increase to 25 million. Finally, across a full season still more people will see one or more episodes--- raising the number who, at some point, watched the show to 60-75 million---or more. My point is that commercial minute ratings are merely a narrowly focused metric for time buyers and sellers to use as a "currency" for guaranteed GRP deals. They don't necessarily tell you how popular a show is with consumers who know nothing about GRPs, CPMs, etc.