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MBPT Spotlight: Broadcast Shows Getting Largest Boost from C3 to C7 More Likely to Get Renewed

With more buyers in this upfront making deals using C7 commercial ratings, it’s worth taking a look at how much of a difference there is between broadcast programs performance using C7 and C3, the measurement used as ad sales currency that last few years.

Networks prefer C7 because it includes delayed viewing of commercials in shows over seven days, while C3 counts just three days of viewing.

Most of the delayed viewing of broadcast primetime TV programming this past season took place between the live-plus-same-day telecasts the third day, as opposed to from the fourth through seventh day after the telecasts, according to Nielsen data.

For example the most-watched broadcast network primetime show in delayed viewing among adults 18-49 — Fox drama Wayward Pines – jumped 31.5% from a 1.12 demo rating in live-plus-SD to a 1.47 in C3. However, from C3 to C7, the series increase only another 10.2% to a 1.62.

The data yields similar results for pretty much all the primetime shows. So while the broadcast networks are pushing to sell more advertising using C7 ratings, the most hefty delayed viewing is still taking place with the first three days of airing.

Still, you can’t blame the networks for trying to squeeze every penny from there ad sales by selling every viewer they can. And more and more ad buyers are agreeing that as long as the commercial viewing can be documented by Nielsen, then their marketer clients will be willing to pay for those eyeballs.

Among the 20 broadcast network programs showing the largest percentage of increase in 18-49 viewers between C3 and C7, nine were on Fox, five were on The CW, four were on ABC and two were on CBS. Six of the Top 10 were on Fox, as were three of the Top 5.

Fox’s Wayward Pines increased its 18-49 rating from C3 to C7 by 10.2% to a 1.62 from a 1.47. Other series in order included: The Following (Fox), 9.8% to a 1.46 from a 1.33; MasterChef (Fox), 9.6% to a 1.48 from a 1.35; Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC), 8.9% to a 1.95 from a 1.79; The Originals (CW), 8.6% to a 0.63 from a 0.58; The Vampire Diaries (CW), 8.2% to a 0.79 from a 0.73; Last Man on Earth (Fox), 8.2% to a 1.98 from a 1.83; New Girl (Fox), 7.9% to a 1.36 from a 1.26; Sleepy Hollow (Fox), 7.8% to a 1.64 from a 1.52; and Criminal Minds (CBS), 7.7% to a 2.65 from a 2.46.

The next 10 include: Agent Carter (ABC), 7.6% to a 1.69 from a 1.57; Glee (Fox), 7.5% to a 0.85 from a 0.79; Gotham (Fox), 7.5% to a 2.15 from a 2.0; Forever (ABC), 7.3% to a 1.32 from a 1.23; Hart of Dixie (The CW), 6.8% to a 0.47 from a 0.44; Bones (Fox), 6.7% to a 1.43 from a 1.34; Person of Interest (CBS), 6.7%, to a 1.75 from a 1.64; Reign (The CW), 6.6% to a 0.48 from a 0.45; The Flash (The CW), 6.5% to a 0.76 from a 0.69; and Modern Family (ABC), 6.4% to a 3.28 from a 3.08.

Interesting to note that among the Top 20 shows that received the largest influx of additional 18-49 demo viewers between live-plus-SD and C3, 10 of them were canceled during or after the season. However among the Top 20 shows that received the largest percentage 18-49 demo viewers between C3 and C7, only three were canceled.

There are only four shows among the Top 20 shows that are on both lists — Wayward Pines, The Following, Glee and Forever and the later three have been cancelled. Wayward Pines has aired into the summer and it seems like all of its delayed viewing success may lead to its renewal for a second season.

As for some of the most popular broadcast series in primetime, they clearly get most of their delayed viewing between live-plus-SD and C3, not between C3 and C7.

Fox drama Empire, which averaged a 5.0 in the demo in live-plus-same day, and saw that jump by 17.4% to a 5.87 in C3, only increased another 4.4% to a 6.13 between C3 and C7.  ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, which increased its 18-49 demo rating 22.8% to a 2.8 from live-plus-SD to C3, jumped just another 3.9% to a 2.91 from C3 to C7.

What does that mean? Most likely that viewers of the most-watched shows are more eager to view them more quickly in delayed viewing if they missed them, rather than waiting four to seven days later. Why do Fox and CW shows get more delayed viewing on a percentage basis among 18-49 viewers? Billie Gold, VP of TV programming research at Carat, which compiled the delayed viewing data, believes that because the Fox and CW audience may be at the younger end of the 18-49 demo, so they may be more likely to want to watch when it is most convenient.

“They may have more going on in their lives and tend to be willing to wait a bit longer before they find time to watch,” Gold says. “Conversely, older viewers may include some of these shows on their secondary viewing lists rather than on must see lists, so they watch them after they catch up with their primary viewing options.”

The C7 data when compared to C3 turns up one other interesting trend. Pretty much all of the live entertainment competition shows like The Voice, Dancing with the Stars and American Idol last season actually showed a slight decline in viewership going from live-plus-SD to C3. However, they all shows small percentages of increase going from C3 to C7.

For example, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars increased is 18-49 demo rating by 1.6% to a 1.93 from a 1.90 going from C3 to C7. The Monday edition of The Voice on NBC increased its rating by 2.2% to a 3.19 from a 3.12, while the Wednesday edition of Fox’s American Idol boosted its demo rating by 3.5% to a 2.06 from a 1.99.

Gold believes most viewers of the competition series want to watch live so they can join in on the conversations surrounding those shows at work or when socializing with friends the next day. Then there is a smaller but loyal audience, perhaps at the older end of the 18-49 demo that wants to follow the show but not necessarily participate in the social conversation. They are content with waiting four or five days to catch up.

Gold says with so many original shows now airing on OTT platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, as well as on pay cable networks like HBO, Showtime and Epix, there are going to be more big changes in viewing patterns and C3 and C7 data during the new broadcast season beginning this fall.

“There are just so many shows that people record but don’t get a chance to watch,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many shows I record but never watch. I just make sure I watch my favorites and regarding the rest, well, if there’s nothing better on live then I’ll watch them.”