Saturday Ratings: Record-low World Series on Track, *but* Ignore These Numbers Completely

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October 26th, 2008

Scoreboard ABC FOX CBS NBC
Total Viewers (million) 9.43 7.29 6.80 4.01
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 3.2/10 2.1/7 1.4/4 1.3/4

World Series Game Three Update: 9.8 million viewers in the preliminary overnights (but for the whole game).

I can't really hate on Marc Berman for being a bigger fan of Big Brother than Major League Baseball, but you can ignore his prose that I link to below as far as last night's World Series game was concerned.

Me, I'm a sports guy and so I know that rather than the numbers in the table above representing terrible numbers for World Series viewing that it might perhaps represent the best ratings for 'Til Death EVER.

The numbers for Fox above are meaningless for a variety of reasons. First, the World Series start time (which should have been around 8:30pm EDT) was delayed by about an hour and a half by rain in Philadelphia. This was the worst outcome possible for Fox. Our data indicates Saturday night numbers early in the series are typically among the lowest. The best news for Fox would have been the game getting postponed. That didn't happen.

The numbers above are from 8p-10pm, but on the east coast the game didn't even start until after 10pm and went well into the morning past 1am on the east coast. Because of the way those numbers are measured (they are not time zone adjusted) they represent viewing between 8pm-10pm wherever the market was, so there is two hours of rain delay/'Til Death viewing mashed in with 2 hours of mostly game viewing and everything in between. But the game ran past 10pm even on the west coast.

The good news for us is that we will ultimately (not sure if it will be today) see the numbers for the entire game and report on them. The bad news is that it will still likely be the least-viewed World Series game EVER (or at least in modern history, I can guarantee you that the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series fewer people were watching, but only because television hadn't been invented yet!). And it won't surprise me if the Penn State vs. Ohio State game (9.43 million viewers beats it) where Penn State won in a close contest.

It's too bad a relative few are watching the World Series, because so far, the games between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Philadelphia Phillies have been very enjoyable to watch. The Phillies now lead two games to one and tonight's game is a pivotal game. If the Rays win, the series is tied two games each (and that's good news for Fox), if the Rays lose, they go down three games to one.

Fox does catch a slight break with tonight's game four, however, there is no Sunday Night Football on NBC this week and NBC will air (at least in my market) a repeat of the theatrical The 40-Year Old Virgin.

If you care about the Crimetime Saturday and 48 Hours Mystery and America's Toughest Jobs (and more people watched the rain delay on Fox than that!) click on over to Marc Berman's site for the data.


Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

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