You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FX Tweaks Ratings Model by Delaying ‘The Strain’ Numbers

FX drama “The Strain” has delivered impressive ratings since its Sunday night premiere, emerging as the biggest new cable drama in young adults this summer and perhaps the biggest ever for the network. But a bigger story is that it took FX this long to tout its performance.

In a first for a TV industry grappling to get an accurate handle on audience measurement in the DVR era, the network waited until Nielsen issued its “Live + 3” numbers on Friday to release any ratings data to the press. The “Live + Same-Day” numbers were issued by Nielsen on Tuesday, and reported in some outlets, but they are increasingly becoming irrelevant for a business whose chief advertising currency is sold off numbers that include three days’ worth of DVR playback.

It’s not unusual these days, especially for 10 p.m. dramas like “The Strain,” to jump in rating by more than 50% with just three days’ worth of DVR playback. (The young-adult audience for “Strain” actually swelled by 64%, and could come close to doubling its audience when a full week’s worth of data is included.)

“With the exception of sports, news and live events, Live+Same Day ratings no longer accurately reflect the audience delivery for a scripted entertainment program,” said FX’s John Solberg in a note accompanying Friday’s ratings release. “We believe they grossly mischaracterize the actual audience due to the multiple data streams and platforms.  Therefore, our first acknowledgement of any ratings will be on a Live+3 basis and beyond.”

It may prove more difficult for the broadcast networks to do this, as there is a decades’ long tradition of making next-morning ratings judgments about their shows, but FX is hoping its new ratings policy can at least spur a discussion throughout the industry.

Looking at Guillermo del Toro’s vampire-virus drama”The Strain,” it averaged a 1.91 rating in adults 18-49 (2.43 million viewers) and 4.73 million total viewers in “Live + 3” ratings, rising 64% in demo rating (from 1.18) and 58% in total viewers (from 2.99 million) from its “Live plus same-day” averages. The 1.91 puts it ahead of TNT’s “The Last Ship,” which did a 1.73 rating in Live+3 (after earning the same 1.18 rating as “The Strain” in “Live+same-day”).

When Live+7 data is released by Nielsen, “The Strain” figures to leap-frog “The Americans” (5.12 million total viewers) to become FX’s most-watched drama ever by this measure.

FX also projects that, inclusive of Live+7 data, VOD, digital and electronic purchases, the series premiere of “The Strain” will deliver over 10 million total viewers.

“The Strain,” from FX Productions, was co-created and is executive produced by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, who teamed to pen the pilot script. Del Toro directed the episode.

Carlton Cuse serves as executive producer/showrunner and writer. Gary Ungar also serves as executive producer.

Showtime also issued Live + 3 numbers for its Sunday series on Friday, though it’s unclear if this will be an ongoing policy. Its “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex” had looked soft in their second-season premieres when the same-night numbers were released by Nielsen on Monday, but looked healthier four days later.

“Donovan” jumped 52% from same-night (1.224 million) to L+3 (1.865 million) to virtually match the 1.9 million for its year-ago series premiere. “Masters” surged by 68% (825,000 to 1.387 million) and also was in line with its series premiere of last year.

Both shows enjoyed stronger lead-ins for their series premieres (“Ray Donovan” had “Dexter” and “Masters of Sex” had “Homeland”), so holding steady is a positive sign.

More Data

  • Arturo Guillén

    Arturo Guillen: An International Vision for a Global Business

    MADRID  — In 1996, when still at high school, Spain’s Arturo Guillen, having flunked some exams, took a summer job at Entertainment Data Inc.(EDI), which had just set up in Spain, intent on delivering computer-collected box office results to distributors. Cinema theaters would start relaying results from 10 pm, Guillén recalls. Sometimes the computer froze, [...]

  • India, South Korea Lead Surge in

    India, South Korea Lead Surge in Asian Production, Rights Spending

    Spending on film, TV and online video content in Asia grew by 12% in 2018, a significant leap from 8% the previous year. The strongest growth came from India and South Korea, with Indonesia and Vietnam following. Data from the latest edition of Asia Video Content Dynamics, published by research and consultancy firm Media Partners [...]

  • Pride Parade and Festival in Salt

    New Study Shows Decline in LGBTQ Acceptance Among Young Americans

    A new study from GLAAD shows a significant decline in LGBTQ acceptance among young Americans aged 18-34. In a national survey among U.S. adults called the Accelerating Acceptance Index, the percentage of young Americans reporting being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people across seven scenarios dropped from 53% to 45%, marking the second consecutive [...]

  • Majelan

    French Podcast App Majelan Launches With 13 Million Audio Episodes Across 50 Countries

    While the podcast space is heating up with a variety of players including Apple, Audible, Spotify and Luminary, a smaller-yet-promising French app called Majelan is rolling out across 50 countries with an international library of 280 000 audio series, or 13 millions episodes, in 15 languages. Majelan is also kicking off with 20 original or [...]

  • Globe Centred On Asia And Oceania,

    APOS: Online Video Headed for 15% Annual Growth, Disrupting Asia Markets

    A blistering 15% annual growth of online video will give the Asian video industry (TV, pay-TV, home entertainment and streaming) a growth rate nearly double that of North America for the next five years. According to a new report from Media Partners Asia, published on the eve of the APOS conference in Indonesia, Asia’s online [...]

  • FICCI-Frames: Digital Growing, But TV Still

    FICCI-Frames: TV Dominates India's Entertainment Sector (Study)

    India’s creative industries sector, comprising television, film, OTT and related industries had an overall market size of $23.9 billion in 2018 and is projected to grow 12% to reach $33.6 billion by 2021. That is according to the annual EY report released during the Frames conference in Mumbai, organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    European Cinema Admissions Down 3.3% in 2018, but Hit 1.25 Billion for Fourth Year in a Row

    European cinema admissions hit 1.25 billion for the fourth consecutive year in 2018, despite dropping 3.3% from the record level set in 2017, according to figures released Wednesday by the International Union of Cinemas, or UNIC. Total box office revenue across Europe hit at least €8 billion ($9.1 billion), also for the fourth year running. The figures [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content