ABC to Stop Using Live+Same Day Ratings

ABC is set to become the second of the major networks to no longer use Live+Same Day figures to measure the performance of its shows (with the exception of live programming), according to an internal memo sent out by ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke.

The move comes four years after Fox chose to do the same, and continues the change in how networks measure their viewership as Live+Same Day ratings give way to delayed and multiplatform viewing.

“As viewership has evolved, so too has our ability to capture and monetize it, from C3 to C7 all the way to Multiplatform 35-day. And going forward, that will be reflected in how we report it internally and externally,” wrote Burke in her memo. “This move aligns us with how we evaluate the comprehensive performance of our shows, how we monetize our business and how our audience chooses to consume our content. People used to plan their lives around television, now they plan television around their lives.”

As Burke goes on to explain, the network will now lean on delayed viewership measurements such as Live+3, Live+7 and Multiplatform+35 to judge how well its shows are performing.

“Grey’s Anatomy” and “Modern Family” are the Disney-owned network’s two best performing series in Live+3 so far this season, with the former placing third among all scripted shows in its 16th season. Meanwhile ABC’s new drama “Stumptown” (pictured above) is the largest grower among freshman shows so far in the 2019-2020 cycle, more than doubling its rating on average after three days of delayed viewing.

According to the first Multiplatform 35-day ratings the network just sent out, “Grey’s Anatomy” more than quadrupled its Live+Same Day score after all that delayed viewing time, posting a 6.45 rating among adults 18-49, and grew its total viewership to 16.6 million. “Stumptown” also multiplied its L+SD rating by four, leaping to a 3.22.

“The Good Doctor” is ABC’s most watched show from premiere week in Multiplatform+35, finishing with 17.2 million pairs of eyeballs, up from 6.3 million in L+SD.

The move comes as no surprise given that Live+Same Day ratings have been in steep decline across all broadcast networks for the past few years, partly due to the rise of streaming, and partly because of the shifting nature of viewing habits.

Read the full note Burke sent out below.

Dear Team:

Every day we deliver distinctive, high-quality programming from world-class creative partners on our powerful linear network, support it with breakthrough marketing, and distribute it across digital platforms. Our viewers respond by watching, talking and posting, generating word of mouth that drives more watching (and more conversation) for days and weeks beyond the original broadcast.

As viewership has evolved, so too has our ability to capture and monetize it, from C3 to C7 all the way to Multiplatform 35-day. And going forward, that will be reflected in how we report it internally and externally. Starting tomorrow, we will no longer be reporting Live+Same Day ratings. The only exception will be live programming. This move aligns us with how we evaluate the comprehensive performance of our shows, how we monetize our business and how our audience chooses to consume our content. People used to plan their lives around television, now they plan television around their lives.

The first stream we’ll be looking at is L3, followed by L7 and MP35.

Today we received our first week of MP35. They tell a very positive story. Here are some highlights among Adults 18-49:

  • Across our schedule, nearly all of our shows at least tripled their audience versus LSD. This delayed viewership is up 30% vs. last year and up 56% vs. the year prior.
  • Including our #1 drama and our #1 comedy,  eight of our programs grew or held versus their year-ago averages in MP35: Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, Black-ish, Bless this Mess, American Housewife, Dancing with the Stars, Shark Tank and America’s Funniest Home Videos.  This follows the YOY gains for our #1 unscripted franchise The Bachelor (+19%) and this summer’s The Bachelorette (+18%) and Bachelor in Paradise (+27%).
  • In L35, ABC has 10 of the top 30 programs, more than any other network (NBC 8, CBS 6, FOX 5, FX 1).
  • Of all new shows, Stumptown is the highest percent gainer (+157%) from LSD to L35, and in MP35 it  more than quadruples (+357%).

Bottom line? Our audience seeks out our content in massive numbers amidst incredible competition.

And speaking of the competition, though we don’t have access to their MP35 data, we do have their L35. In that measure, ABC has three of the Fall’s top five new programs – Stumptown, Emergence and Mixed-ish – and three of the top five scripted shows overall with Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, and The Good Doctor. And the other two – This is Us and 9-1-1 – are produced by our sister studio for other networks, which means Walt Disney Television is home to the top five scripted programs in L35!

As a broadcast network, our job is to captivate our audience and create a customer experience that makes sense for today’s world – that means allowing people to watch how they want, where they want and most importantly, WHEN they want.  So our reporting will now align with our business and most importantly, our consumer.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Elizabeth Sloan in Consumer Insights.



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