DVR Data Proves 'Supernatural,' Boosts Ratings For Some Shows

Nielsen's new DVR-included audience ratings data doesn't give buyers and sellers much to haggle about--yet.

Network programs continued to elicit small or no gains when ratings for same-day DVR playback viewing were added to a program's live viewing tally. Increases, if they occurred at all, were mostly under 0.5 percent.

Still, there were a few exceptions as two WB shows showed noticeable ratings bumps when DVR viewing was added.

The Dec. 28 episode of the WB's "Supernatural" received the largest boost of any network show through Thursday, with a 3.1 percent increase via DVR viewing in the adults 18-49 demo. On the same night, WB's "One Tree Hill" posted a 2.5 percent gain.

Fox's "House" on Dec. 26 showed a 1.1 percent gain, and was the only other show to gain a boost of more than 1 percent.

Still, most of the results for Dec. 26 through Dec. 29--the first four days of the new ratings system--didn't give either buyers or sellers much ammunition to strengthen their case. Sellers argue that a program viewed in DVR playback mode has more value to advertisers than buyers believe.



In the key adult 18-49 demo, of 70 programs on the six major broadcast networks Dec. 26-29, only 15 (21 percent) were viewed using a DVR at all, according to Nielsen. Further, among the 15 shows that received a ratings bump with the addition of DVR ratings, most of the increases were negligible, with the majority under 0.5 percent.

Last week, Nielsen Media Research began releasing two sets of ratings for nightly viewing: the traditional "live" viewing tally, and a new aggregate rating of "live" viewing plus same-day viewing with a DVR.

The issue between buyers and sellers of how to place a value on a show viewed "live" versus "live" plus DVR same-day viewing is likely to intensify as the upfront selling season approaches. Nielsen is expected to increase the size of DVR homes in its national sample by summer 2006, perhaps in time for the upfront.

So far, of the 9,300 total homes in its sample, only 60 have a DVR--far below the current 7 percent estimate of U.S. households with DVRs.

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