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TV By the Numbers: Viewers Devour Football, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Tom Turkey float during the 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Tom Turkey float during the 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Image credit: Peter Kramer/NBC)

This is a quick snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of Nov. 23-29*, 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 Vizio’s Inscape, the TV data company with insights from a panel of more than 16 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).

Once again the NFL was on top, snagging 8.41% of all minutes watched, an increase from the previous week’s 6.99%. College football followed, while the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade had a 1.03% share duration putting it in third place. Thanks to a marathon on HGTV, Home Town jumped into seventh place (0.70%) while multiple news programs slipped in the ranking compared to the previous week. Speaking of marathons, although it didn’t make the top 25 ranking for the full week, History ran a Band of Brothers marathon on Black Friday, and it was No. 3 for watch-time that day (college football and college basketball were first and second, respectively).

Most-watched shows on TV by percent share from Nov. 23-29

Thanks in part to football (both NFL and college), CBS jumped into first place with a 9.49% share duration, followed by NBC (7.96%) and Fox (6.60%). Hallmark moved into fifth place, thanks in part to airings of Christmas Waltz, while newcomers to the top 25 included AMC and Freeform. It was a quieter week for news networks: Both CNN and Fox News dropped compared to the previous week, although MSNBC remained steady at No. 9.

Most-watched networks by percent share from Nov. 23-29

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. 

TV ad impressions during NFL games were once again on the rise, up to 10.2 billion, a 31.13% increase from the previous week. College football was the only other program to surpass 1 billion impressions (3.87 billion), while the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade generated 927.4 million impressions. Dancing with the Stars jumped into the top 25 ranking with 272.5 million impressions, a 14.91% increase from the previous week, as did 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way (257.1 million, a slight 3.64% week-over-week increase).

Most-watched shows by ad impressions from Nov. 23-29

CBS took first place with 9.1 billion TV ad impressions, more than half of which came from NFL games. NFL was a top impressions-driver for the second and third place networks, NBC (5.6 billion) and Fox (4.6 billion), while college football helped deliver eyeballs to ABC. Hallmark marched up the chart to No. 10, thanks to its continued rollout of Christmas movies. Animal Planet was a new entrant to the ranking with 214.7 million impressions, 94.1 million of which came from just two programs: Tanked: Tanksgiving and Alaska: The Last Frontier: The Frozen Edge.

Most-watched networks by ad impressions from Nov. 23-29

*Note: Due to a wide Amazon Web Services outage on Nov. 25, the data above may be incomplete.