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Syndie Gets No Bounce From C3

When the C3 ratings for primetime’s premiere week were finally published on Oct. 11, the top scripted show, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, had increased its viewership by 30%, according to Nielsen. Shows across the top 20 on average increased their viewership by 8%.

But daytime television is a decidedly different story. The most that any syndicated first-run strip’s audience has increased thus far this season in the C3 viewers is CTD’s Jeopardy!, with a 4% uptick among women 25-54 and a 3% gain in households.

“Some 85% of our audience watches syndicated programs live,” says Mitch Burg, Syndicated Network Television Association president. “That means they are not electronically skipping the commercials.”

And while Burg’s job is to push the value of syndication to advertisers, it would seem the numbers back him up.

Just as it is in primetime, C3, which averages ratings for a show’s commercial minutes across three days of collected live plus recorded viewing, has become the currency against which syndication ads are sold. “Selling C3 seems to work for both parties, because it’s a pretty fair representation of how the consumer interacts with programming, given the audience’s ability to record shows pretty easily,” says one syndication salesperson. Syndication benefits by selling against C3 ratings because its shows are typically not recorded, so audiences remain largely the same.

“C3 has been great for us,” says Burg. “It comparatively points out the advantage of being live and of having short commercial pods.”

Burg advocates that the most important commercial time in any show is the first minute—time usually reserved as an exclusive national pod. “If you don’t run in the first minute, your commercials are inefficient,” says Burg. “Some 70% of commercial viewership happens during the first commercial minute.”

CBS Television Distribution’s Swift JusticeWith Nancy Grace is syndication’s top-rated new strip among women 25-54—one of daytime’s key sales demos, along with women 18-49—in the C3 ratings, averaging a 1.17 (14th place overall), according to Nielsen Media Research. Grace is also the top-rated new firstrun show, averaging a 1.4 live plus same day household rating.

Other C3 ratings winners include CTD’s Judge Judy, the top first-run syndie show among women 25-54 in C3, averaging a 3.36, 3% higher than its live plus same day average rating. CTD’s top talker, Oprah, is second with a 2.8 in that key female demo. Oprah’s C3 rating ties its live plus same day rating among women 25-54, indicating the show remains a very good buy for advertisers looking to reach women. Oprah’s average household ratings are lower than Judy’s, but that makes a female-targeted ad buy in Oprah more efficient. Other top shows among women in C3 are CTD’s Wheel of Fortune, third at a 2.42, and CTD’s Entertainment Tonight, fourth at a 2.20.