NFL Dominates Viewing as Playoffs Progress: TV By the Numbers

Dallas Cowboys vs San Francisco 49ers in 2023 NFL divisional playoff
The Dallas Cowboys fell to the San Francisco 49ers in an NFL divisional playoff game. (Image credit: Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Here’s a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of January 16-22, highlighting the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data smart TV data compiled by Inscape (opens in new tab), and network and show TV ad impressions insights via iSpot.tv (opens in new tab).

Most-Watched Shows and Networks 

Via Inscape, the currency-grade smart TV ACR data provider and data technology division of Vizio with insights from a panel of more than 20 million opted-in 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).

Once again, the NFL takes first place for the most-watched program on TV, with Wild Card and Divisional Round games capturing 12.42% of all minutes watched (up from 8.31% the previous week). 

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • Basketball is on the upswing, with men’s college games accounting for 1.51% of watch-time, while NBA basketball had 1.11%. Both represented increases in both minutes watched and ranking position from the previous week.
  • Universo’s Spanish-language broadcast of NFL games jumps into the ranking at No. 12, with 0.52% of watch time. 
  • The 2023 Australian Open, which kicked off on January 16, lands at No. 20 with the first few rounds accounting for 0.42% of minutes watched.
  • Thanks in part to rerun marathons, Chicago P.D. and The First 48 were two programs with the most notable week-over-week ranking increases, from No. 25 to No. 11 and No. 20 to No. 15, respectively. 

Inscape Top Shows Jan. 16-22

Fueled by NFL games, plus pre- and post-game coverage, Fox takes first place in our network ranking with 8.84% of minutes watched, up from 7.82% the previous week. 

Additional insights around the most-watched networks from January 16-22:

  • Maintaining its fourth-place position, thanks in part to NFL simulcasts with ESPN, ABC captured 6.58% of watch-time, an increase from the previous week’s 5.63%. 
  • CBS held steady in second place but saw a slight decrease in minutes watched, down to 8.69% from the previous week’s 9.09%. 
  • Networks with both week-over-week ranking and watch-time increases include Hallmark Channel (No. 8, 1.67% of minutes watched), HGTV (No. 9, 1.65%) USA Network (No. 13, 1.33%) and TV Land (No. 18, 1.14%). 
  • Week-over-week ranking newcomers include INSP (No. 22 with 0.98% of watch-time) and TLC (No. 24, 0.87%). 

Inscape Most Watched Networks Jan. 16-22

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via iSpot.tv, the real-time TV measurement company. Rankings are by share of TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

An overwhelming share of total TV ad impressions came from NFL games: 20.09%, an increase from the previous week’s 17.39%. Over 40% of those came from games airing on Fox, while CBS had a 28.02% share of NFL impressions and NBC had 17.31%. 

More insights about the top programs by share of TV ad impressions:

  • Basketball takes second and third place, with men’s college games owning a 2.61% share (up from 2.09% the previous week) while NBA had 2.36% (up from 1.82%).
  • ESPN’s SportsCenter jumps from No. 9 to No. 6, increasing its share of TV ad impressions to 1.47% from the previous week’s 1.08%.
  • General Hospital on ABC and Let’s Make a Deal on CBS were the only non-sports or news programming to see week-over-week increases in TV ad impressions share. 
  • Week-over-week chart newcomers include NFL on Fox Pregame (0.86% share of impressions), Univision’s ¡Despierta América! (0.59%) and Fox News Channel’s Jesse Watters Primetime (0.58%). 

iSpot Top Programs Jan. 16-22

Once again, CBS captured the largest share of TV ad impressions by network, but its 16.88% was a slight decrease from the previous week’s 17.55%. NFL games accounted for one-third of the network’s impressions share.

Additional notes on the top networks by share of TV ad impressions from Jan. 16-22:

  • Although it remains in third place, Fox had a slight increase in impressions share week-over-week, up to 11.66% from 9.45%, thanks in part to NFL games. ABC, holding steady at No. 4, also saw an uptick (from 8.95% to 11.57%). 
  • Other networks that increased their share of TV ad impressions from the previous week include ESPN (from 5.99% to 6.37%), Univision (3.74% to 3.87%), CNN (3.08% to 3.68%), TNT (1.02% to 1.48%), TLC (0.93% to 1.06%), HGTV (0.77% to 0.99%) and UniMas (0.83% to 0.87%).
  • Spanish-language network Universo is a notable week-over-week ranking newcomer, landing at No. 25 (0.46% share of TV ad impressions), with NFL coverage owning over 93.5% impressions share. Previously it was ranked No. 73 by TV ad impressions share.
  • Other week-over-week newcomers include NFL Network (No. 13), Food Network (No. 20), Bravo (No. 21), Golf (No. 22) and BET (No. 24). 

iSpot Top Networks Jan. 16-22

Eleanor Semeraro is an analyst and contributor with TV [R]EV.