NHL, NBA Playoffs Pull in TV Ad Impressions, Watch-Time: TV By the Numbers

Igor Shesterkin #31 of the New York Rangers makes a save against Bryan Rust #17 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Four of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 9, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(Image credit: Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of May 2-8, 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).

Entertaining conference semifinal series mean the NBA playoffs are once again the most-watched programming in this week’s watch-time ranking. From May 2-8, the NBA accounted for 3.92% of all TV minutes watched -- up from 3.53% the previous week, despite fewer games.

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • The first round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs meant wall-to-wall hockey across ESPN networks and TNT, and 1.33% of the week’s minutes watched.
  • Despite a race that ran just two minutes, the 148th Kentucky Derby still scored 0.69% of TV watch-time on the week.
  • Along with hockey and the Kentucky Derby, ABC World News Tonight With David Muir is the other week-over-week newcomer in our ranking by watch-time, moving up from No. 30 to No. 24.
  • Syndicated sitcoms held strong for another week, with Friends (No. 9), Two and a Half Men (No. 15) and The Golden Girls (No. 22) all appearing in this week’s ranking.

Most-watched shows on TV by percent shared duration May 2-8.

ABC remains the most-watched network for a fourth consecutive week, thanks in part to the NBA playoffs. The network scored 7.05% of minutes watched for the week, edging out NBC (6.45%) and CBS (6.40%) for the top spot.

More insights around the most-watched networks from May 2-8:

  • IFC climbs again, from No. 9 to No. 8 by watch-time, once again relying on syndicated sitcoms like Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond and Parks and Recreation.
  • NHL and NBA playoff action fueled a modest minutes-watched climb for TNT, increasing watch-time from 3.14% to 3.55% week-over-week.
  • History Channel vaults from No. 23 to No. 20 by watch-time, via new episodes of The Curse of Oak Island, among other programs.
  • INSP is the lone week-over-week network newcomer, moving up from No. 26 to No. 25 by minutes watched thanks in part to Gunsmoke syndicated airings.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent shared duration May 2-8.

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. 

NBA playoff games still reign supreme with the most TV ad impressions from May 2-8, delivering more than 4.3 billion -- 8.3% of the total on TV and more than four times the impressions served by the Stanley Cup playoffs (the No. 2 program).

More data about the top programs by TV ad impressions:

  • The Kentucky Derby is No. 7 by share of impressions on the week, with 1.37% as viewers tuned in both before and after the country’s most popular horse race.
  • With over a billion TV ad impressions during the first week of playoff action, the NHL increased impressions by nearly 25x compared to the final week of the regular season.
  • Live sports remained a big impressions draw this week, with the NBA (No. 1), NHL (No. 2), Kentucky Derby (No. 7), MLB (No. 11) and PGA Tour (No. 18) all finishing among the top 25 programs by impressions.
  • The View increased impressions by nearly 16% week-over-week, inching up from No. 18 to No. 17 in our ranking.

Top shows by TV ad impressions May 2-8.

ABC’s NBA Playoffs emphasis delivers the top spot in our ad-impressions-by-network ranking again, from May 2-8. The NBA accounted for nearly 15% of the network’s impressions on the week.

Additional insights around the top networks by impressions from May 2-8:

  • Kentucky Derby coverage is among the biggest reasons for NBC’s 15% week-over-week impressions increase, as the race accounted for over 700 million impressions for the network.
  • Popular reality show Exatlón Estados Unidos delivered over 22% of Telemundo impressions for the week, powering a jump from No. 11 to No. 10 in our ranking, week-over-week.
  • Fox Sports 1 impressions rise 31% week-over-week, thanks in large part to NASCAR coverage on the network (accounting for over 53% of FS1’s impressions for the week).
  • Programming on May 2 accounted for almost 25% of Fox’s impressions for the week, thanks to 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star.

Top networks by TV ad impressions May 2-8.

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