Prime-Time Dramas Get Nice Bounce From DVR Playback

NBC's The OfficeTime-shifted viewing this season has so far accounted for 16% of the adult 18-49 viewing among the five broadcast networks. This comes from a recent study from Magna, Interpublic Group of Cos.' media consulting group, which notes that prime-time shows can add anywhere from 5% to 20% of their ratings from DVR playback.

The best time-shifted shows were "The Office" and "90210," both with an overall gain of 32% in viewership due to DVR playback.

Also, DVR playback users are, on average, 10 years younger than their respective live viewers for all networks. Overall, younger 18-34 viewers account for 31% of all time-shifted viewers. At the other end of the spectrum, adults 65 and older only represent 6% of all time-shifted viewers.

During DVR playback, ABC's median age dropped to 41, versus its live viewer average of 51. CBS fell seven years younger to 45, from 54. NBC was at 37, from 47. Fox dropped five years to 38, from 43. CW moved down the least of the five networks, to 31 from 33.

Only one program type stood out as likely to be time-shifted: action and sci-fi drama.

Virtually across the board, shows such as "Heroes," "Fringe," "Prison Break," "Pushing Daisies," "Chuck," "Smallville," "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," "Supernatural," "My Own Worst Enemy" and "The Ghost Whisperer" each had a much greater percentage of DVR playback than the average prime-time series.

Other dramas with serialized story lines, such as "Grey's Anatomy," "90210," "House," and "Private Practice," had higher-than-average DVR playback, as well as younger and more female-skewing serialized dramas, such as "Lipstick Jungle," "Gossip Girl," "Privileged," and "One Tree Hill."

Procedural crime dramas generally come in about average in DVR playback gain. Analysts have reasoned that episodes of these shows are self-contained and can be viewed when they are re-aired on broadcast and cable networks. CBS, for example, does well in reruns of its crime shows.

Comedies were generally less time-shifted, excluding "The Office." Other shows that were above average: "30 Rock," "How I Met Your Mother," "My Name is Earl" and "The Big Bang Theory."

Reality programs were also generally less time-shifted than other genres, although "America's Next Top Model," "Survivor," and "Amazing Race" were higher than average.

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