Fun with Numbers: DVR Viewers not as young as I thought. Or younger.

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December 9th, 2008

Being the "third world ratings website" that one commenter recently referred to us as, we don't get much access to the demographic data for DVR playback. I've been seeing it recently in the weekly ratings releases from Fox and since Nielsen has delays with the release of the most recent batch of DVR data (for the week of November 17-23 -- impacting not just third world websites like us, but big networks who pay big bucks for the data like Fox), I thought I'd take a look at the difference between the 18-49 data and the overall data.

The table below is Live+7 day DVR viewing for the week of November 10-16:

DVR Playback Rank Show Net DVR viewers (000) 18-49 DVR Viewers (000) 18-49 DVR % 18-49 DVR Rank
1 GREY’S ANATOMY ABC 4,239 2,815 66.41% 1
2 HOUSE FOX 3,958 2,328 58.82% 3
3 OFFICE NBC 3,153 2,470 78.34% 2
4 DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES ABC 3,061 1,963 64.13% 5
5 CSI CBS 3,053 1,796 58.83% 6
6 FRINGE FOX 2,894 1,724 59.57% 7
7 HEROES NBC 2,893 2,006 69.34% 4
8 SURVIVOR: GABON CBS 2,681 1,628 60.72% 9
9 BONES FOX 2,559 1,536 60.02% 10
10 THE MENTALIST CBS 2,503 ? ?

I had already assumed judging from the weekly DVR reports that DVR viewing accounted for significant increases to the 18-49 ratings, and that's certainly true. All of the top ten shows increased their 18-49 ratings by more than one full 18-49 ratings point, and Grey's Anatomy increased over two 18-49 ratings points as a result of DVR viewing.

The biggest takeaway for me is that the 18-49 population represents less of the total DVR viewing than I imagined. I had figured on average around 75% of DVR playback came via 18-49 year olds. But at least in this limited sample of highly DVRd shows it's closer to 60%. Only The Office with over 78% was in the 75% zone, with Heroes in the neighborhood with over 69%

Since we don't have full demographic data, I can't say what portion of the non 18-49 playback is under 18, and what portion is 50 and over, but I think it's reasonable to conclude a good chunk of playback is coming from the 50+ crowd. It doesn't surprise me that over 40% of CSI DVR viewing was outside the 18-49 demographic. But House and Fringe? That was a surprise to me.

The rankings among the top 10 shows were very similar. For the week of November 10-16, there was only one difference. The Mentalist was not among the top 10 shows viewed on DVR by 18-49 year olds. 30 Rock, which was fourteenth overall, with 2.144 million DVR viewers was eighth among 18-49 year olds with 1.687 million.

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