Hoopla Online: CBS' NCAA Digital Package Scores

CBS can tout higher traditional TV ratings for the first round of the NCAA Tournament this year, but the bigger story is its digital TV NCAA package.

The college basketball tournament has an array of games--where the network cuts back and forth; viewers don't get exactly what they want. But with CBS digital "March Madness on Demand" package, consumers can get everything--and as a result, the Internet programming package has been growing in popularity.

The first day of March Madness on Demand has seen a jump of 122% in unique visitors to 1.7 million. This includes CBS' 200 affiliate sites, including ESPN.com, SI.com, Yahoo Sports and Facebook. Last year, there were 789,045 visitors.

On the traditional TV side, CBS' tournament coverage improved to a Nielsen preliminary 3.3 rating from a 3.2 rating among 18-49 viewers of a year ago. This gave the network the win for the night--although it was just under NBC in total viewers: 8.64 million to 8.45 million.

The biggest-rated show of the evening went to ABC's "Lost," which took in a low 4.4 rating/12 share. The show got the best of the NCAA Tournament during the 9 p.m. hour, with basketball getting a 3.8/10.



NBC had top honors among total viewers--but only came in at third place for the night among 18-49 viewers. Its best shows were "Deal or No Deal" with a 3.3/10 and "Celebrity Apprentice" with 3.1/8.

Concerning the newcomers, ABC's "Miss Guided" tallied a weak 2.2/7 average for two half-hour episodes from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Later in the evening, NBC's new drama "Lipstick Jungle" and ABC's "Eli Stone" continued to run almost identical numbers at 10 p.m., coming in with a 2.6/7 and a 2.5/7, respectively.

For the night among 18-49 viewers, CBS had a 3.3/8; ABC earned a 3/9; NBC had a 2.8/8; Fox, a 2.4/7; and CW, a 1.3/4.

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