The Most-Watched Shows of 2017 on OTT, DVR and More

As we welcome the beginning of a new year, B&C partnered with Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level information from 7.7 million smart TV screens and devices, to see which shows were most popular among TV viewers in 2017 across viewing modes, including OTT. Note: the rankings below are based on second-by-second viewership data. The column on the far left is top live (linear) shows and on the far right “DTV” refers to smart TVs using digital antennas to access broadcast networks.

Some notes and highlights:

  • No surprise that sports, especially football, recurs throughout the lists.
  • Live PD reigns supreme when it comes to shows that were recorded and watched at a later time, which may be a little surprising since the show is known for featuring live (or almost live) video feeds from law enforcement agencies around the country.
  • The same goes for reality TV shows such as The Real Housewives of Orange County. While many presume that fans prefer to watch reality TV in real time to avoid spoilers on social media later, the numbers don’t lie: reality shows are favorites for DVR viewers, too.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit appears on multiple lists, a testament to its staying power despite being on the air since 1999—and its omnipresence thanks to heavy syndication across multiple networks and day parts.
  • Despite what some critics may think, The Walking Dead remains a huge fan-favorite—and draw across DVR, VOD and OTT.