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March Madness Nets Watch-Time, Impressions Lead: TV By the Numbers

Eric Dixon #43 of the Villanova Wildcats shoots against the Kansas Jayhawks in the second half of the game during the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal at Caesars Superdome on April 02, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
(Image credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of March 28-April 3, showcasing 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).

Even with just two NCAA Tournament games airing from March 28-April 3, men’s college basketball retains its watch-time lead for yet another week. Games accounted for over 1.7% of TV audience tune-in, which was No. 1 overall, edging out the NBA (1.18% of minutes watched).

Also: North Carolina-Duke Draws Most Final Four Viewers Since 2017

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament jumps from No. 11 to No. 8 week-over-week while crowning a champion (the South Carolina Gamecocks) on Sunday.
  • This year’s Grammy Awards telecast is the lone week-over-week newcomer in our program ranking, taking home 0.63% of the week’s watch-time during Sunday night’s broadcast.
  • American Idol surges from No. 33 by minutes watched to No. 17, collecting 0.50% of TV watch-time for the week.
  • Comfort food stand-by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives soars from No. 39 to No. 20 by minutes watched week-over-week.

Most-watched shows by percent share March 28-April 3

Yet again, it’s CBS atop our ranking of the most-watched networks, with 7.01% of all minutes watched from March 28-April 3. The Grammys are the biggest source of minutes watched there, but far from the only major draw for CBS, which also airs daytime TV titans like The Price Is Right and The Young and The Restless.

More insights around the most-watched networks from March 28-April 3:

  • TBS leaned on Final Four games to keep its place among the 10 most-watched networks (No. 9 this week after being No. 6 the previous week).
  • Similarly, TNT rode Final Four simulcast views and late-season NBA action to No. 19 in our watch-time rankings (up from No. 28 the previous week).
  • The same goes for truTV, which climbs from outside of the top 50 most-watched networks March 21-27, to No. 24 this week.
  • ESPN hops from No. 8 to No. 6 by watch-time, due in part to NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament games (including the championship game between South Carolina and Connecticut).

Most-watched networks on TV by percent shared duration March 28-April 3

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 Final Four means men’s college basketball games continue to deliver TV ad impressions, as NCAA Tournament games accounted for over 4.7% of impressions for the week (2x more than the No. 2 program).

More data about the top programs by TV ad impressions:

  • The Grammys arrive at No. 7, with nearly 721 million impressions, while also airing fewer ads per hour than any other program in this week’s top 25.
  • Basketball continues to provide an impressions bounce, as men’s and women’s college basketball and the NBA account for almost 8% of all TV ad impressions from March 28-April 3.
  • Daytime soap operas take three of the top 25 spots in our rankings, led by The Young and The Restless (No. 10), then General Hospital (No. 18) and Days of Our Lives (No. 24).
  • Multiple episodes of American Idol led to TV ad impressions rising by almost 95% week-over-week as the reality show sits at No. 4 by impressions for the week.

Top shows by TV ad impressions March 28-April 3

CBS is No 1 once more in our ad-impressions-by-network ranking for March 28-April 3, delivering 15.3% of TV ad impressions.

Additional insights around the top networks by impressions from the week:

  • TBS, truTV and TNT combined for about 6% of all TV ad impressions for the week after all aired the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s Final Four matchups between North Carolina and Duke, and Kansas and Villanova, respectively.
  • ESPN’s own basketball emphasis (NCAA Women’s Tournament and NBA) helped fuel a week-over-week rise in share of TV ad impressions — from 3.7% to 4.4%.
  • Wrestling and Premier League soccer coverage contributed to USA Network’s week-over-week climb from No. 20 to No. 17 by impressions, as live events and surrounding shows accounted for over 40% of the network’s impressions.

Top networks by TV ad impressions March 28-April 3

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