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Time-Shifted Viewing Can Be Bulk of Audience Within 28 Days: Study

Several of the 50 top shows on cable and broadcast networks receive more DVR and video-on-demand viewers in the 28 days after air than they do live, according to audience-measurement firm Rentrak.

Rentrak’s initial Total Audience Viewing Report, which combines live TV audience with DVR and VOD viewership data, found that TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles and FX’s Sons of Anarchy have DVR and VOD playback viewership that comprises more than 60% of the audience for the 28-day total.

Cable shows that saw more than half of their total audience after 28 days come from DVR and VOD included Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, Syfy’s Haven, MTV’s Teen Mom 2, USA’s Burn Notice, A&E’s Duck Dynasty and TLC’s Sister Wives.

The Rentrak report covered primetime programs that initially aired between Nov. 26 and Dec. 2, 2012.

Those time-shifted audience figures are much higher than the averages reported by Nielsen in a report released last month. According to Nielsen, for cable networks, 93.3% of viewing is live, 3.4% is same-day, 2.8% is within 7 days and 0.6% is between 8 and 29 days. For broadcast TV, 87.2% viewing is live, with 5.5% watched on DVR the same day, 6.1% within 7 days and 1.1% between 8 and 29 days.

Rentrak touted its ability to break out results for individual TV shows, claiming to have the first data showing total viewing lift of program audiences over one-month period.

"We believe in leaving no 'eyeballs' behind and realize that DVR and VOD viewing continues to grow greatly beyond seven days," Rentrak CEO Bill Livek said in announcing the service. "With a report that looks at a month of TV viewing, both networks and their agency clients can discover the true audience shift and lift beyond a week."

Rentrak analyzed the average DVR and VOD lift over the top 50 TV shows but is not publicly disclosing that because “that is something that the clients are paying for,” according to spokesman Antoine Ibrahim.

Among broadcast shows, CW’s The Vampire Diaries showed that more than half of the total audience within 28 days came from DVRs and VOD, while ABC’s Grey's Anatomy, Fox’s New Girl and NBC’s Revolution each showed that more than a third of the 28-day total came from DVR and VOD.

Rentrak’s Total Audience Report incorporates live audience numbers, VOD audience and DVR playback from 22 million live TV households and census-based video-on-demand behavior from more than 100 million households.

The report shows the percentage of increased viewing from the total audience for ad-supported primetime network and cable programs over 7, 14 and 28 days. Rentrak plans to eventually release the 28-day total aggregate views on a weekly basis, Ibrahim said.