Overall playback numbers stay high, 'Modern Family' still leads

ABC’s “Modern Family” has some company atop the DVR playback ratings this fall, with NBC’s “Revolution” delivering just as big young-adult gains during premiere week.

They were the biggest, but they weren’t the only shows to gain substantially when Nielsen’s Live + 7 numbers — which includes DVR playback for one week — were released on Monday for the week of Sept. 24-30. L7 is the final measurement from Nielsen, and these ratings are rolled into season averages when available.

Nielsen last week released L3 numbers for premiere week, which are closer to the C3 currency used for advertising (or commercials viewed within the first three days of a telecast). These numbers are getting more scrutiny this year now that the national DVR penetration among adults 18-49 has grown to nearly 51% (Daily Variety, Oct. 2).

On average, DVR playback on days four through seven following a telecast accounted for 14% of a show’s L7 rating, according to Fox research. This means that 86% of playback is done in that first three-day window.

This year during premiere week, a total of 27 programs gained at least 1 full 18-49 ratings point from same-day to L7 — up from 20 a year ago. In total viewers, the 14 programs rising by 3 million or more was up from last year’s 10.

“Revolution” posted the largest-ever total-viewer gains, rising from 9.2 million to 14.1 million. Airing Monday at 10, the show not only faces two veteran dramas in its timeslot (“Castle” and “Hawaii Five-0″), but also ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

In adults 18-49, “Revolution” and “Modern Family” each gained 2.3 ratings points. After “Revolution,” the other biggest gainers among rookie shows were CBS’ “Elementary” (+1.4, from 3.1 to 4.5), ABC’s “666 Park Avenue” (+1.1, from 2.1 to 3.2), ABC’s “Last Resort” (+1.0, from 2.2 to 3.2) and NBC’s “New Normal” (+1.0, from 2.0 to 3.0).

Perhaps not surprisingly, the shows that had the smallest gains were those that have struggled in the same-day ratings too: CBS’ “Made in Jersey” (+0.2, from 1.1 to 1.3) and “Partners” (+0.3, from 2.4 to 2.7) and Fox’s “Mob Doctor” (+0.4, from 1.3 to 1.7) and “Ben & Kate” (+0.4, from 2.1 to 2.5).

On a percentage basis, six shows grew by at least 60%: NBC’s “Grimm” (81.3%) and “Revolution” (67.6%), “Fringe” (63.6%), “Private Practice” (63.2%), Fox’s “Glee” (62.5%) and CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0″ (61%).

In updated program rankings for premiere week, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” stayed at No. 1, but its 9.0 rating in adults 18-49 didn’t budge. That meant No. 2 “Modern Family” (up to 7.8, from 5.5) and No. 3 “The Big Bang Theory” (up to 6.9, from 5.0) closed the gap considerably.

“Revolution” surged from No. 13 in the rankings to fifth, while ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” edged up from eighth to seventh.

Among network notes, all of ABC’s rookie series earned at least a 3.0 rating in 18-49. The net’s returning dramas “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Once Upon a Time” and “Revenge” all delivered a slightly higher L7 number this year than last.

At CBS, seven of the network’s crime dramas joined “The Big Bang Theory” in gaining 3 million more viewers in L7, and the net’s victory by that margin grew by about half a million viewers. In adults 25-54, it moved from second place into a tie with NBC for first.

Also, the Eye’s final Thursday averages in adults 18-49 and total viewers were both up vs. last year.

NBC, which had preemed some of its shows the week before premiere week, saw very strong retention in the second weeks for “Revolution” (5.7 vs. 5.9 for its premiere) and “The New Normal” (3.0 vs. 3.1).

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