‘Modern Family’ tops DVR playback

It's one of 20 shows to gain at least 1 full demo ratings point

The rich get richer when it comes to DVR viewing, which is up sharply this season as a component of overall viewing of primetime skeins.

Nielsen’s “live-plus-7” numbers for premiere week, released Monday, show a record number of series achieving milestone DVR playback levels within seven days of a program’s bow.

Overall for the week of Sept. 19-25, a whopping 20 primetime broadcast series gained at least 1 rating point in adults 18-49 from their live-plus-same day ratings — up from 13 for premiere week a year ago. And in total viewers, 10 skeins grew by at least 3 million — up from just two shows last year.

ABC’s “Modern Family” gained the most during premiere week, rising 2.4 ratings points and 4.7 million viewers. The biggest winners in the delayed DVR viewing derby still tend to be the top shows (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Office,” etc.).

The growth in DVR gains for top shows isn’t too much of a surprise, given that DVR penetration has grown to 42% of U.S. TV households this season, compared to 38% last season.

Of course, the live-plus-7 lifts are a mixed blessing for the networks. While it’s reassuring for

net execs to see year-to-year rat declines evaporate for some shows — or even turn to gains — the numbers aren’t all that relevant for advertising sales, which are based on a so-called C3 ratings, or the viewership of commercials during the live telecast and within three days of premiere. As live-plus-7 numbers balloon, the nets are sure to push Madison Avenue to add a few more days to the C3 measuring stick.

From a network-wide basis, CBS (0.7 ratings gain in adults 18-49) grew by a bit more than both ABC and Fox (0.6), with NBC gaining by four-tenths of a ratings point; one of the reasons why NBC lags its rivals in 7-day lift is that viewing of its No. 1 program, “Sunday Night Football,” is primarily done live or on same-night delay.

CBS also grew most in total viewers (gaining 2.1 million viewers to 14.22 million), followed by ABC (gaining 1.51 million to 11.38m), Fox (up 1.31 million to 9.68m) and NBC (up 0.92 million to 8.42m).

The CW grew from a 0.7 to 1.0 in adults 18-49 and from 1.64 million viewers overall to 2.17 million.

Among other tidbits from the live-plus-7 numbers for premiere week:

• Thursday may not have as many monster hits as in years past, but the 9 o’clock hour was still home to two of the six biggest 18-49 gainers in Week 1: ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (up 1.7) and NBC’s “The Office” (1.4).

• Among new shows, Fox’s “New Girl” was the biggest gainer in 18-49 rating (rising 1.5 points from 4.8 to 6.3). Other rookies getting good same-week DVR sampling included NBC’s “Up All Night” (up 1.1 points to 3.5), CBS’ “2 Broke Girls” (up 1.1 points to 8.1), ABC’s “Pan Am” (up 1.0 to 4.1) and “Revenge” (up 0.9 to 4.2), NBC’s “Whitney” (up 0.9 to 4.2) and CBS’ “Person of Interest” (up 0.9 to 4.0).

• Thursday may not have as many monster hits as in years past, but the 9 o’clock hour was still home to two of the six biggest 18-49 gainers in Week 1: ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (up 1.7) and NBC’s “The Office” (1.4).

n Among percentage gainers on the Big Four, seven shows grew by 40% or more: “Grey’s Anatomy,” “CSI,” “Up All Night,” “Law & Order: SVU” (NBC), “Fringe” (Fox), “Community” (NBC) and “Harry’s Law” (NBC). The CW, which works from a smaller ratings base, also saw all of its scripted series grow by 40% or more.

• Thursday may not have as many monster hits as in years past, but the 9 o’clock hour was still home to two of the six biggest 18-49 gainers in Week 1: ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (up 1.7) and NBC’s “The Office” (1.4).

• Friday series show up high on DVR-lift percentage rankers because it’s the least-watched night live and the shows are relatively low-rated: In adults 18-49, CW’s “Supernatural” grew by 62% (0.8 to 1.3), Fox’s “Fringe” by 53% (1.5 to 2.3), CW’s “Nikita” by 50% (0.6 to 0.9), and CBS’ “Blue Bloods” by 35% (2.0 to 2.7).

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