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TV By the Numbers: NFL Draft Dominates Watch-Time, Ad Impressions

The 2021 NHL Draft in Cleveland, Ohio
(Image credit: Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

This is a quick snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of April 26 through May 2, revealing the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio’s Inscape, and the top shows and networks by TV ad impressions with 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 17 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).

The NFL Draft jumped into first place, capturing 2.66% of all minutes watched during the week. The Kentucky Derby also made the top 10, coming in at No. 8 with 0.67% of watch-time. Home Town on HGTV rocketed up the ranking from No. 25 to No. 15, while Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives also saw a notable week-over-week increase.

Most-watched shows on TV by percent share duration for April 26-May 2.

Thanks in part to the 147th Kentucky Derby, NBC took first place on the network ranking, with 6.69% of all minutes watched. CBS moved up a notch to No. 2, while ABC and Fox both slipped down one place; TNT was another network that dropped in the chart week-over-week, down to No. 18 from No. 11 previously. Bravo, which wasn’t on the ranking last time, moved into No. 23 with 1.07% of watch-time for the week.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent share duration for April 26-May 2..

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. 

The 2021 NFL Draft was the only program to generate over 1 billion TV ad impressions during the week, with the top count (615.4 million impressions) coming from ESPN. Both NBA basketball and MLB baseball slipped in the rankings: NBA was down from first place to No. 6 with a 45.8% week-over-week decrease in impressions, while MLB saw a 11.63% decrease, down to 564.6 million TV ad impressions.The 147th Kentucky Derby landed in the top 10 with 573.9 million impressions and PGA Tour Golf had an 11% week-over-week impression increase.

Top shows by TV ad impressions for April 26-May 2..

Once again, CBS takes first place, and saw a 32.61% week-over-week increase in TV ad impressions, up to 7.7 billion. Thanks in part to the NFL Draft, ESPN also had an increase in impressions, up to 2.3 billion from 1.8 billion the previous week. Lifetime and The CW were two newcomers to the ranking. Lifetime delivered 327.5 million TV ad impressions, 42% of which came from Married at First Sight. The CW generated 304.8 million TV ad impressions, led by new episodes of All American, Kung Fu, William & Kate’s Royal Anniversary and Supergirl.

Top networks by TV ad impressions April 26-May 2.