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Nielsen Ratings Thu, Mar 20: NCAA No Deal for CBS?

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March 21st, 2008

Scoreboard for Thurs. March 20, 2008 NBC CBS ABC FOX CW
Total Viewers (million) 8.64 8.45 8.37 7.91 3.18
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 2.8/8 3.3/9 3.0/9 2.4/7 1.3/4

If you believe the numbers (which I more or less do),  NBC won the night narrowly edging out CBS, though CBS did win the 18-49 demographic. NBC was pushed to 3rd. 

Nielsen is enamored with the notion of Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement and if I'm CBS I start SCREAMING for it right now.  Eli Stone getting more viewers than the NCAA from 10p-11p!   I actually believe that more than I believe Deal or No Deal had more viewers at 8pm.  CBS averaged about 3 million fewer viewers than it did last week with Survivor, and repeats of CSI and Without a Trace (repeats!).  The college hoops only very slightly improved the 18-49 demo results (a 3.3 vs. a 3.2)

Unfortunately I did not see the data for just the 8pm-9pm hour for NCAA action (the other hours are broken out), but outside of the Belmont/Duke game most of yesterday's games just weren't that entertaining.  But I know from 2:30p to 9:00ish PDT (5:30-midnight EDT) I was in a sports bar that was crammed with at least a few hundred people from about 5:30p PDT to 9pm PDT.

Nielsen didn't count most of those people or any of the ones at the thousands of bars across the country where that happened.   They have the same problem for football when there are games which can basically only be seen at a sports bar (like the NFL Network matchup last November between the Packers and the Cowboys).  

Anyway, NBC with a rare Thursday night victory - while facing off against the NCAA (and LOST!).  Wow. 

If I read the Berman report right last night's NCAA matchups averaged 8.45 million for the primetime portion, down ~20% from last year's 10.48 million.  Normally I do understand the diminishing ratings, but this is a little bit of a surprise to me.  Perhaps it's just that there were so many blowouts that people tuned out.  I'm not sure what to make of it other than Belmont breaking my heart.  The data we'd really need to see - a metric that would be telling is how did last night's beer sales compare to a year ago.  If that's down 20% there's a real issue here for everyone involved.  But if it's the same, or more,  then everyone's happy.  The goal of the Nielsen numbers is to facilitate the buying and selling of advertising and the goal of, say Anheuser-Busch when it advertises is to sell as much Budweiser as it possibly can. 

If AB is selling more Bud, regardless of whether advertising played a role or not, AB won't get tweaked about the lower ratings and will still advertise next year when CBS will again figure out (it is genius, I can't deny it) how to sell fewer eyeballs for even more money. Maybe by next year the Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement from Nielsen won't just be a press release.

As predicted a couple of days ago, Miss Guided did not fare nearly as well in its "permanent" time slot. The two episodes airing from 8p-9p averaged 6.34 million vs almost 10 million at 10:30pm (10:32, actually) on Tuesday night out of Dancing with the Stars.  Still, for an ABC sitcom, on a competitive night those numbers don't seem bad.  At least not when compared to According to Jim, Cavemen, etc.  For all I know the Mouse is most pleased with the results.

Speaking of the Mouse, LOST did win the 9pm hour in both viewers and 18-49 viewers somewhat convincingly.  Thursdays at 9pm is the most competitive hour of television of the week.  When LOST returns in a month it will be pushed to 10pm.  I enjoyed last night's episode and I'll probably write about it after I'm done watching the NCAA tourney - which is not a primetime only event.  The games start just after noon on the east coast and I'm already missing a little action!

Thursday night's details:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share HH Rating
8:00 CBS NCAA Basketball (8pm-11pm) 8.45 3.3/9  
  FOX Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? 7.31 2.1/7  
  ABC Miss Guided (2 Episodes) 6.34 2.2/7 4.3
  NBC Deal or No Deal 10.21 3.3/10 6.6
  CW Smallville 3.41 1.4 2.2
           
9:00 FOX Dont Forget the Lyrics 8.51 2.7/7 4.9
  ABC Lost 11.28 4.4/12  
  NBC Celebrity Apprentice 8.62 3.1/8 5.9
  CW Reaper 2.95 1.2/3 1.9
  CBS NCAA Basketball (9p-10p) 9.91 3.8/10  
           
10:00 CBS NCAA Basketball (10p-11p) 7.15 2.8/8  
  ABC Eli Stone 7.54 2.5/7 4.9
  NBC Lipstick Jungle 7.09 2.6/7 5.1

Nielsen Ratings Source: Nielsen Media Research. Full night's results available via Marc Berman/Mediaweek.

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  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Jake, As far as I know Nielsen does not count out of home viewers.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Jake, As far as I know Nielsen does not count out of home viewers.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    My observation is not many of the commenters actually read the actual post! :) A sure sign I need to make them shorter!

    I mentioned that Nielsen doesn’t count the viewers in sports bars (and that the games were boring). Although I hear Nielsen is testing tracking out of home viewers, sports bar viewers are definitely not currently tracked in the results we report.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    My observation is not many of the commenters actually read the actual post! :) A sure sign I need to make them shorter!

    I mentioned that Nielsen doesn't count the viewers in sports bars (and that the games were boring). Although I hear Nielsen is testing tracking out of home viewers, sports bar viewers are definitely not currently tracked in the results we report.

  • Julia

    Yeah, I can’t remember which cities are being test run with out-of-home trackers, but my understanding from my brother (who sells ads for ABC) is that advertisers are pissed about that idea. So I’m not sure if it will ever catch on.

  • Julia

    Yeah, I can't remember which cities are being test run with out-of-home trackers, but my understanding from my brother (who sells ads for ABC) is that advertisers are pissed about that idea. So I'm not sure if it will ever catch on.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Julia — am I fair in thinking that they’re pissed because then they’ll have to pay for viewers they got for “free” for years and years? Or is it for other reasons?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Julia — am I fair in thinking that they're pissed because then they'll have to pay for viewers they got for “free” for years and years? Or is it for other reasons?

  • Julia

    I actually have no idea. I didn’t ask about why. I was just talking to my brother a couple months ago about ratings and he mentioned that. Your reasoning would be my assumption as well.

  • Julia

    I actually have no idea. I didn't ask about why. I was just talking to my brother a couple months ago about ratings and he mentioned that. Your reasoning would be my assumption as well.

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