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TV By the Numbers: Weather Watch-Time, Impressions Rise with Hurricane Coverage

Hurricane Ida as seen from the International Space Station on Aug. 29, 2021
(Image credit: European Space Agency)

Included below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of Aug. 23-29, highlighting the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio's Inscape, and 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).

As the National Football League season gets closer, preseason games are still earning watch-time wins. For the week of Aug. 23-29, NFL programming is once again No. 1 on TV, with 2.4% of watch-time. The 2021 Little League World Series is No. 2 with 1.07%, followed by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (0.84%), Good Morning America (0.83%) and PGA Tour golf (0.81%).

The biggest viewership surge, however, comes from weather coverage — specifically around Hurricane Ida as audiences tuned in to keep track of the storm. Weather Channel's Live Coverage: Tracking Ida debuts at No. 6 overall with 0.8% of minutes watched during the timeframe.

College football's return with a limited "week zero" slate of games saw it capture 0.52% of watch-time — No. 16 among all programs from Aug. 23-29. It's one of five live sporting events included in this week's ranking, behind the NFL (No. 1), Little League World Series (No. 2), the PGA Tour (No. 5) and Major League Baseball (No. 8).

Tucker Carlson Tonight is No. 25, closing out the weekly watch-time ranking with 0.41% of minutes watched.

Most-watched shows on TV by percent share duration Aug. 23-29

After a one-week hiatus, NBC returns to the top spot for networks by watch-time for Aug. 23-29. NBC earns 6.35% of total minutes watched on TV by way of Today and the NFL, among other programming. As the preseason winds down, eyeballs on the NFL continue to increase for broadcasts like NBC's matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns, which aired on Aug. 29. 

Fox News drops one spot to No. 2 by watch-time with 6.07% on the week, followed by ABC (5.89%), CBS (5.33%) and Fox (4.33%). The latter two networks aired NFL games during the timeframe as well.

Meanwhile, The Weather Channel jumps from No. 46 to No. 14 during the week of Aug. 23-29, with 1.49% of watch-time.

Investigation Discovery is the only other network to experience a significant jump by week-over-week ranking, moving from No. 19 to No. 13, with 1.54% of minutes watched.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent share duration Aug. 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. 

Even in the preseason, NFL games are back to delivering large numbers of TV ad impressions. Over the course of 16 matchups (10 on national TV) from Aug. 23-29, the NFL delivered over 1.17 billion TV ad impressions, to take the top spot among all programming.

Good Morning America is second with 1.02 billion impressions, followed by Today (966 million), Live Coverage: Tracking Ida (880 million) and The Young and the Restless (834 million). The Weather Channel's almost round-the-clock Hurricane Ida coverage accounted for over 56% of its total TV ad impressions (for shows with new airings) from Aug. 23-29.

Along with hurricane coverage, some of the more notable week-over-week newcomers to this ranking include college football and Bachelor in Paradise. As noted above, the former began its "week zero" schedule with a handful of games en route to 519 million impressions (No. 16), while the latter is No. 13 with 567 million. Though Bachelor in Paradise has been on for years as a spin-off to the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchises, this is the first season that won't feature long-time host Chris Harrison. So far, this season is utilizing celebrity guest hosts, including (to date) David Spade and Lance Bass.

TV shows by TV ad impressions Aug. 23-29

NBC leaps back up to No. 1 in this week's ad-impressions-by-network ranking, with 5.24 billion from Aug. 23-29. Fox News is second with 4.96 billion TV ad impressions, followed by ABC (4.72 billion), CBS (4.49 billion) and CNN (2.62 billion). The Weather Channel was one of 10 networks to top 1 billion TV ad impressions (for new, live programming) on the week, coming in at No. 9 with 1.56 billion. 

Football helped fuel an impressions boost for several networks as both NFL preseason action and early college football games served as welcome landing spots for diehard and casual viewers alike. NBC, CBS, Fox and ESPN all experienced TV ad impression increases after airing NFL and/or college football games from Aug. 23-29.

TV networks by TV ad impressions Aug. 23-29