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Audiences Fuel Watch-Time Wins for NBA Finals, French Open: TV By the Numbers

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots during the first half against the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center on June 05, 2022 in San Francisco, California.
(Image credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of May 30-June 5, highlighting the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio’s Inscape, and network and show TV ad impressions insights via iSpot.tv.

Most-Watched Shows and Networks

Via Inscape, Vizio’s TV data product with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 19 million active and opted-in smart TVs. Data is linear, live TV only and includes all episode types (new and reruns). Rankings are by percent share duration (i.e., time spent watching).

The NBA Finals are just two games in, but that’s enough to secure a watch-time lead for the association’s championship round. Games one and two between the Boston Celtics and Golden States Warriors combined for 1.68% of all minutes watched from May 30-June 5 — No. 1 among all programs during the timeframe.

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • French Open action swings to No. 2 by watch-time as audiences watched Rafael Nadal take the men’s title (the 14th time he’s done so), while Iga Świątek won her second French Open in three tries.
  • Our rankings are littered with live sports, especially at the top. Beyond the NBA Finals and French Open, the NHL (No. 4), MLB (No. 7) and PGA Tour (No. 9) all finish in the top 10 as well.
  • Seinfeld soars to No. 18 in our rankings thanks to a Comedy Central marathon, after not appearing among the top 50 programs by watch-time the previous week.
  • Among the other syndicated sitcoms included in this week’s rankings: Friends (No. 12), The Golden Girls (No. 20) and Two and a Half Men (No. 23).

Most-watched shows on TV by percent shared duration May 30-June 5.

ABC leaps to the top spot as the most-watched network, thanks in part to the NBA Finals. The network had 7.23% of watch-time on the week, up from 6.14% from May 23-29, when it placed third in our rankings.

Additional insights around the most-watched networks from May 30-June 5:

  • HGTV climbs the ladder into the top 10 in our rankings, as audiences tuned into an abundance of Love It or List It episodes.
  • Hallmark Channel also hops into the top 10 by minutes watched with an assist from the premiere of new movie Hidden Gems.
  • History Channel bounds from No. 25 to No. 18 by watch-time week-over-week, in part due to a two-night documentary on Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Paramount Network continues to lean into hit show Yellowstone, fueling a modest move from No. 23 to No. 21 by minutes watched week-over-week.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent shared duration May 30-June 5.

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. Rankings are by TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

The NBA Finals scored the most TV ad impressions on the week, with 2.23 billion — 5.3% of the total. Those impressions are up nearly 40% year-over-year compared to the first two games of last year’s Finals, which took place in early July.

More data about the top programs by TV ad impressions:

  • Despite the short week with the Memorial Day holiday, Good Morning America still increased TV ad impressions by over 6% compared to the previous week.
  • MLB impressions increased by 63.7% week-over-week despite just four additional minutes of ad time (but this week featured action on ESPN, while the previous week had games on ESPN2 instead).
  • The French Open’s later rounds led to more TV ad impressions, as the event delivered 175% more week-over-week.
  • America’s Got Talent’s 17th season premiered on NBC on May 31, to the tune of 364.4 million impressions (0.86% of the total for the week and No. 18 in our ranking).

Top shows by TV ad impressions May 30-June 5.

ABC nabs the top spot in our ad-impressions-by-network ranking, with 15.53 of impressions on the week. The NBA Finals accounts for over 32% of those after airing in primetime on Thursday night and Sunday night, respectively.

Additional insights around the top networks by impressions:

  • With new episodes almost nightly, La Casa de los Famosos helped fuel Telemundo’s move from No. 11 to No. 9 by impressions week-over-week.
  • College baseball and the Women’s College World Series combined for almost 29% of TV ad impressions on ESPN2, pushing the network from No. 17 to No. 14 by impressions week-over-week.
  • Lifetime more than doubled impressions week-over-week, thanks in part to the most recent “where are they now?” episode of Married at First Sight (30% of Lifetime impressions on the week).
  • Bravo impressions rose by 29% week-over-week as the Real Housewives of Dubai premiered as the newest addition to the successful franchise.

Top networks by TV ad impressions May 30-June 5.

John Cassillo is an analyst and contributor with TV[R]EV.