Skip to main content

It's Early, But Viewers Again Watch Broadcast Primetime Series on DVR in Droves

DVR viewing of broadcast network primetime shows for the new
season increased by a large percentage during the early September premieres of
new and returning series compared to last
season, based on Nielsen live-plus-three-day 18-49 demo ratings
data released earlier this week.

Of 17 returning shows that made their season premieres prior
to this week, 10 outpaced their live-plus-three-day gains from last season,
which were up significantly from the 2010-11 season.

Viewers, it appears, are trying to catch as many shows
as possible, though more of them are watching in DVR playback mode than
last season, which could mean a lot more commercial skipping. The Nielsen
numbers, however, do not include data from the official premiere week,
which began on Sept. 24, when the bulk of the new and returning shows
began airing their new season episodes.

Still, the early increased percentages in delayed viewing
for some of the shows are sizable. On NBC, the season premiere of The Office
on Sept. 20 drew a live-plus-same-day 18-49 rating of 2.1, but its live-plus-three-day
rating was a 3.0-a 43% increase. And that's on top of a 39% increase that The Office had for live-plus-three-day
viewing last season vs. the 2010-11 season.

Through the first two new episodes of NBC's Parenthood,
which premiered its season on Sept. 11, the series averaged a 1.8 18-49 rating
live and a 2.5 live-plus-three-day rating, a 35% increase over last season,
which was up 37% from the 2010-11 season.

Also on NBC, Parks and Recreation premiered on Sept.
20 with a live 1.7 rating which grew to a 2.3 for live-plus-three-days, itself
a 35% increase over last year's live-plus-three-day rating. And Up All Night, which
premiered the same night, drew a 1.3 live rating that rose to a 1.8 over the
three-day period, a 38% increase.

The first two episodes of NBC's The Voice on Mondays
averaged a 4.5 live rating and a 5.2 live-plus-three-day rating, and two
episodes of The Voice on Tuesdays averaged a 4.3 live rating, which
jumped up to a 5.0 for three days, increases of 16% for each of the nights over
last season.

On a percentage-of-increase basis, NBC's Grimm showed
the largest gain from live to three-day ratings. Grimm, which premiered
on Aug. 13 and aired four new episodes during the Nielsen measurement period,
averaged a 1.7 18-49 live rating, which shot up to a 2.6 rating over three
days, a 53% increase. And that was on top of a 60% increase it showed over

The increases for Fox's returning shows were also high. Glee's first two episodes this season
averaged a 3.0 same-day rating, which rose to a 4.2 for three days, an increase
of 40%. Bones premiered with a live rating of 2.3, rising to a 2.9, which
was a 28% increase in its 18-49 rating. The X Factor saw its live 18-49 rating for its first two episodes
on Wednesday and Thursday rise 17% and 16% respectively for live-plus-three-day

On ABC, Shark Tank
premiered with a 1.8 18-49 rating that rose to 2.2 for live-plus-three-day, a
hike of 22%. On CBS, Survivor:Philippines premiered with a live
rating of 3.2 that grew to 3.7 through three days, a 16% increase.

When judging whether a new series is successful or not, the
live-plus-three-day ratings have to be factored in. Fox's Mob Doctor
premiered with a 1.5 but rose to a 1.7 in the three days that followed, an
increase of 20%. That is not an especially impressive a total.

Two episodes of NBC's freshman series The New Normal
averaged a 2.4 live, but that grew to a 3.0 when factoring in the three days,
an increase of 26%. And NBC's much-hyped sci-fi series Revolution
premiered with a live 18-49 rating of 4.1, but that increased to a 5.4 in live-plus-three-days,
a ratings hike of 32%.

There are many more shows to consider, and the bulk of the
premieres are happening this week. So the next round of Nielsen data on live-plus-three-day
ratings vs. live will shed even more light on the continuing growth of viewers relying
more on watching primetime favorites in delayed mode. Advertisers should be
watching this data carefully.