TV By the Numbers: College Basketball’s Watch-Time, Impressions Win Week on TV

Georgetown vs. Connecticut on February 27, 2022
Men's college basketball games like the February 27 Connecticut-Georgetown matchup helped CBS finish No. 1 in ad impressions by network. (Image credit: Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of Feb. 21-27, showcasing the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio’s Inscape, and network and show TV ad impressions insights via

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).

With the calendar turning to March, interest in men‘s college basketball is heating up in advance of the NCAA tournament. From February 21-27, games scored 2.12% of total TV minutes watched — No. 1 for the week, and nearly double the watch-time of the next most-watched programming.

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • The National Basketball Association only aired games from Thursday through Sunday, yet still netted 1.14% of minutes watched for the week.
  • Fox News Channel coverage surges, with seven of the top 25 most-watched shows, including Fox News Live, which soars from outside the top 50 to No. 15 overall.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit leaps from No. 42 to No. 5 week-over-week, with 0.85% of minutes watched.
  • Paw Patrol jumps to No. 14 after not appearing in the top 50 the previous week, via marathon viewing on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.

Most-watched shows by share duration February 21-27

Fox News hops to No. 1 among networks in terms of total watch-time, courtesy of Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) coverage and commentary around Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The network grew week-over-week minutes watched on TV from 5.24% to 7.39%.

More insights around the most-watched networks from Feb. 21-27:

  • With audiences locked on Russia and Ukraine news, other cable news networks also show week-over-week increases, with CNN climbing from No. 15 to No. 5 and MSNBC moving from No. 19 to No. 11 by minutes watched.
  • In part thanks to Paw Patrol, Nickelodeon moves from No. 20 to No. 17 in week-over-week watch-time.
  • HGTV builds up to No. 9 by minutes watched, after sitting at No. 11 the previous week.
  • The CW’s watch-time moves from No. 24 to No. 22 in our rankings, boosted by viewers tuning into All-American’s return and the debut of All-American: Homecoming.

Inscape network rankings Februay 21-27

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. Rankings are by TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

Basketball’s watch-time advantage also corresponds to a TV ad impressions lead from Feb. 21-27. Men’s college hoops accounts for over 4% of impressions to top all programming during the week, while NBA games delivered nearly 2.5%.

More data about the top programs by TV ad impressions during the week:

  • The men’s Dubai Tennis Championships, women’s Monterrey Open and player responses to the Russia-Ukraine conflict helped drive Tennis Channel’s Center Court to No. 16 by TV ad impressions on the week.
  • American Idol’s season 20 premiere helped float the show to No. 25 by impressions (0.72% of everything served on TV).
  • News-focused programs make up the majority of the top programs by impressions from Feb. 21-27, with 14 of the top 25 — and 16 including sports-news programs SportsCenter and Center Court.
  • Daytime soap operas claim three spots among the top 25, led by The Young and the Restless at No. 8 (with 1.1% of impressions).

iSpot top shows ranking February 21-27

CBS skips to the No. 1 spot in our ad-impressions-by-network ranking from February 21-27, in part due to men’s college basketball triple-headers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Additional insights around the top networks by impressions from the week:

  • Cable news claims three of the top seven spots in our rankings, with Fox News grabbing 10.5% of impressions, followed by CNN (8.6%) and MSNBC (4.9%).
  • Live sports also delivered a large portion of impressions, as 12 of the top 25 networks aired at least some sort of sporting event during the week.
  • Related: ESPN2 impressions climbed by 15% week-over-week as a result of more impressions delivered by men’s college basketball games (despite fewer minutes of advertising).
  • Top networks delivered a larger share of impressions, with the top eight networks by impressions accounting for nearly 71% of impressions from Feb. 21-27, versus 65% the previous week.

iSpot Top Networks Ranking February 21-27

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