Full data for top 20 DVR viewing for the week ending 2/24 can be found here.
The LIVE+7 viewing numbers for the week ending February 24th are in (remember, the way Nielsen counts those particular beans for some reason takes well over 2 weeks - they are reportedly working on reducing the amount of time it takes) and ABC's LOST was the most watched program via DVR that week. According to Nielsen 3.71 million watched LOST via the DVR, beating out American Idol, which had about twice as many overall viewers, but a couple hundred thousand or so less watched it via DVR than LOST.
LOST is one of my favorites, in fact, now that The Wire has said sayonara on HBO, LOST is probably my favorite (House is right up there too). But to put this in its proper perspective, more people watched LOST via DVR than watched Supernatural period. Supernatural is another favorite of mine, and I chalk this up mostly to the CW being
one of the worst run broadcast networks in the entire history of broadcast television. 3.59 million watched Supernatural that week on a LIVE+7 basis, while 3.71 million watched LOST on a time-shifted basis. Another 11.73 million watched LOST live. Let's be clear, most people watch ALL shows live. Even 68+% of LOST viewing was on a live basis, and while perhaps not the "lion's share" (for purists like Gorman, the lion's share is 75% or more), 68% is still "most people" any way you slice it.
Also, I'd note that a whole lot of the DVR viewing is so obviously just time-displacement where people are holding up 20 minutes or so before they begin viewing the shows so they can fast-forward or skip through the commercials without ever having to suffer them live. On a live basis, LOST had 11.72, and another 3.71 million watched via DVR, but of those 3.71 million, 1.92 million of them watched it the same night it aired. The "LIVE+SD" (same day DVR viewing) pulled in 13.65 million. That week a little more than half of the total DVR viewership for LOST occurred the same night the show aired.
While this is really bad, bad, BAD, bad news for advertisers, it's good news for the biometric research companies charged with proving that retention of ads is still good, even when people fast forward through them. I think in the very near future we'll begin to see advertisements that are optimized for those fast forwarding through them.
I say DVR is a friend to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Big Brother 9 more than Jericho because it seems like week in, week out, Sarah Connor had about 1.8 million viewers via DVR. Meanwhile all three weekly airings of Big Brother made the top 20 DVR viewing, both on an absolute basis and as a percentage of overall viewing. Jericho did make the top 20 in both categories as well, but while Jericho had 1.5 million DVR viewers for its premiere on February 12, it was down to 1.24 DVR viewers for the episode on 2/19. It's only two data points, but it's not a good trend based on that. By contrast, the made for tv movie: Knight Rider had almost 1.7 million DVR viewers on Saturday, February 16.
Other shows that don't seem to do great in the overall ratings that fare well in the DVR top 20? One of my favorites, Boston Legal, a show I'd never watch - Medium, a show I watched a couple of time on DVR and though was cute -- Eli Stone, and chick shows Lipstick Jungle, and Cashmere Mafia. Las Vegas also pulled good DVR numbers, but I'm not sure that will be enough to bring it back.
Unscripted programming, which dominate the overall ratings don't factor as highly in the DVR results, but for the week ending 2/24 both airings of American Idol, Survivor: Micronesia, The Apprentice, and of course, all three airings of Big Brother.
Again, full data for top 20 DVR viewing for the week ending 2/24 can be found here.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2008 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.