It’s always intriguing to see how the Live-plus-7 ratings stack up against premiere telecast numbers, or more accurately, the Live-plus-same-day viewing stats. It’s the quantifiable evidence that DVRs are changing the world, one show at a time.
CBS has brought to our attention that "Jericho’s" preem numbers weren’t quite as modest as they seemed from the overnights. Per CBS: "’Jericho’s’ second season premiere (Feb. 12) ratings increased by +15% in adults 18-49 (3.0/07 from 2.6/07), +17% in adults 25-54 (3.5/08 from 3.0/07) and by more than one million viewers (8.14m from 7.13m, +14%) compared to its live plus same day ratings."
Also, CBS was quick to note the high volume of viewers who trekked to CBS.com and other sources to watch the premiere via web streaming. The Eye sez the "Jericho" opener was streamed 520,000 times during the week after the broadcast preem (Feb. 12-18) and another 180,000 times during the following week (Feb. 18-25).
For those who still remember the details of the WGA strike fight, all of that streaming did fall within the 17-day "promotional window," meaning that the scribes of that seg won’t make a cent. Then again, if the stream scene helps keep the show on the air…Moreover, CBS also reports that "Jericho" generated some 760,000 streams of segs from its first season during the week of its second season preem. And being more than a year past the original telecast date, those Web-enabled repeats pay out to scribes at 2% of distributor’s gross from the get-go, with no promo window getting in the way.
Meanwhile, media buying agency Magna Global has issued a detailed report on TV viewing during the strike. The general conclusion is that viewing levels remained pretty constant during the November-December period of the strike and didn’t start to take a dive until the drought of original segs of scripted series really hit in January. Interestingly, the Magna study shows that there was less delayed viewing via DVRs during the run of the strike, indicating that viewers weren’t as interested in keeping up with the replacement reality shows and repeats as they otherwise would be with fresh segs of their scripted faves. The Magna study also notes that retention of audience during the commercial breaks — a very important measure now with the commercial ratings now determining ad rates — is far lower with most unscripted skeins than it is with comedies and dramas.
So writes Magna analyst Brian Hughes:
"The primary reason for this (dip in delayed DVR viewing) is that the networks are not gaining as much now from DVR playback as they were in 4th quarter due to an influx of repeats and reality shows. This is clear from the narrowing of the gap between live and live+7 program ratings since January, but the effects can also be seen within average commercial minute ratings…Original reality series, which have been rolled out in force to fill schedule gaps, have a (commercial ratings) index of 97 (5-6 percentage points below scripted original series). This does not include "American Idol," "Survivor," or "Dancing With the Stars," which are the three strongest reality shows, and will always skew the average."