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NBA Playoffs Continue to Dominate TV Ad Impressions, Watch-Time: TV By the Numbers

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors takes a shot against Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at Chase Center on May 13, 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 9-15, 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).

The NBA and NHL continue their dominance of both TV watch-time and ad impressions. The NBA leads with 4.70% of overall watch-time, up from 3.92% last week. Meanwhile the NHL maintains a close second at 1.38% of watch-time, roughly even with the 1.33% from the previous week. 

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • Crime procedurals remain viewer favorites, with seven populating the list. Of them, Chicago P.D. saw the highest week-over-week spike, rising from No. 23 last week to No. 11 this week.
  • Law & Order re-entered the top 25, as did Family Feud.
  • Syndicated sitcoms continue to do well, with Friends (No. 7), Two and a Half Men (No. 17) and The Golden Girls (No. 23) all roughly maintaining their relative positions week-over-week.

Most-watched shows on TV by percent shared duration May 9-15.

ABC continues its run as the most-watched network for a fifth consecutive week, largely due to the NBA Playoffs. The network fell slightly in overall minutes watched to 6.67% (from 7.05% last week) — which was still good enough to ward off a surging CBS, which passed NBC to take second place with 6.49% of minutes watched. NBC fell to third with 6.20%. 

Additional insights around the most-watched networks for the week:

  • Ion and IFC flip positions, with Ion jumping a spot in the rankings from No. 9 to No. 8, and vice versa.
  • TNT retains its No. 6 position on the strength of NHL and NBA playoff games, while overall minutes watched increased from 3.55% to 3.83%.
  • The week’s biggest jump comes from TBS, spiking from No. 18 to No. 16 on the back of a 7% increase in minutes watched.
  • Bravo enters the list at No. 25 — the only newcomer for the week.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent shared duration May 9-15.

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 top TV shows by ad impressions ranking is dominated by NBA playoff games, which increased overall impressions to 4.9 billion from 4.3 billion last week. Second-place NHL playoffs increased ad impressions from 1.02 billion to 1.08 billion. 

More data about the top programs by TV ad impressions:

  • The PGA Golf Tour rose to No. 8 from No. 18, increasing to over 566 million impressions.
  • American Idol fell to No. 19 from No. 10, shedding over 193 million impressions vs. the previous week.
  • Game shows increased their presence, with The Price Is Right rising a spot to No. 5, and Let’s Make a Deal entering the list at No. 14 after not appearing at all last week.
  • Primetime news shows both gained and lost. ABC World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News both rose a spot week-over-week, while America’s Newsroom fell from No. 16 to No. 22, and Special Report With Bret Baier fell off the list completely, replaced by Jesse Watters Primetime at No. 24.

Top shows by TV ad impressions May 9-15.

There was little change in the ad-impressions-by-network ranking, with ABC continuing to ride the NBA playoffs to the No. 1 spot despite impressions falling to 6.93 billion from 7.05 billion the previous week. 

Additional insights around the top networks by impressions:

  • The top six networks all held their chart positions, despite a slight decline in overall impressions week-over-week.
  • Univision overtook CNN for the No. 7 spot by a hair (just 7 million impressions), while Fox gained ground over Telemundo to enter the top 10.
  • Bravo entered the list this week at No. 20, while the History Channel fell off completely.

Top networks by TV ad impressions May 9-15.

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