Adults 18-49, 25-54, Live+Same Day, Live+3, Live+7: It's All The Same To The Cancellation Bear

Categories: TV Business

Written By

September 27th, 2012

CBS's Kelly Kahl (@calibadger) took to Twitter today on a variety of topics, one being the importance of different age demos to CBS's business.

First of all, we're glad to see that Kelly's no Retentionista, and while we have some theories why CBS is pushing the adults 25-54 PR angle harder than ever this year (a bit on that below), all I wanted to note was that for the purposes of the Cancellation Bear, and our predictions of the futures of individual broadcast primetime scripted shows, using relative adults 25-54 ratings wouldn't likely yield any different results than using adults 18-49 ratings as we do now.

What about DVR ratings?

Some time next week the Live+3 day program ratings will be available for premiere week and you'll see a lot of network PR about them, and on October 15  the Live+7 day ratings for premiere week will be available, and expect to be buried under the weight of a PR avalanche touting those.

While we use Live+Same Day relative ratings to make our predictions (primarily because they are available sooner), again, the predictions would be highly unlikely to change were we to use Live+3 day or Live+7 day ratings, since the relative ratings ratios are unlikely to change, and the combination of relative adults 18-49 Live+Same Day ratings have been very, very predictive in the past.

To the cancellation bear it really doesn't matter what relative ratings get compared, the same shows are going to get canceled, and be predicted to be canceled.

It's better to follow the bear than be chased by him. Follow The Cancellation Bear on Twitter via @TheCancelBear. #fearthebear

Why is CBS all of a sudden pushing harder on the adults 25-54 ratings PR button?

It's not to avoid negative season to season ratings comparisons. CBS is probably going to be down about the same % vs. last season in 18-49 as they are in 25-54.

My guess is that the big 25-54 PR push is happening to allow them to better tout their "We won the timeslot! We won the night!" daily PR skirmishes now that they have at least one competitor either "beating" or nearly "beating" them on every night among adults 18-49. But that's just the cynic in me.

 
  • Sarah

    Will the Live+7 numbers be available next week for the few shows that started a week early or are they just starting on the 8th?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Will the Live+7 numbers be available next week for the few shows that started a week early or are they just starting on the 8th?”

    On October 1, the Live+7 day ratings for the week of September 10-16 will be available. I’m not certain *we* will get a complete set of numbers for those though.

    We *probably* will get the ratings for Sept 17-23 on October 8, and we will *certainly* get the Live+7 ratings for premiere week on October 15.

  • Sarah

    @Bill

    Okay, thanks.

  • Jon23812

    Well different shows have different target audience. There are also some shows that also target to tween audience like “Glee”. There are also a few shows that try to target a family audience.

  • sam

    I have to believe that they wouldn’t have even gone ahead with Vegas without realizing that it would appeal to an older audience. I realize that the younger audience may be primary, but what is the harm in a few hours of entertainment aimed at actual adults? I believe that it can be show that there are some products, like luxury cars, that aren’t being bought by twenty year olds.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “I have to believe that they wouldn’t have even gone ahead with Vegas without realizing that it would appeal to an older audience. I realize that the younger audience may be primary, but what is the harm in a few hours of entertainment aimed at actual adults? I believe that it can be show that there are some products, like luxury cars, that aren’t being bought by twenty year olds.”

    The point I’m trying to make in this post is, for purposes of show futures prediction, it doesn’t matter what reasonable ratings demo you use (except the complete PR fluff that is total viewership).

    Whatever reasonable ratings metric you choose to compare shows (18-49, 25-54) the lower rated CBS shows are going to be canceled, and the higher rated ones renewed. It seems so obvious, and yet, it comes as a surprise to so many.

  • Jay S.

    @sam – Your point about Vegas sounds a lot like what people were saying about Harry’s Law last year. An hour drama starring Kathy Bates must have been made with a somewhat older audience in mind, right?

    Well, it picked up the older audience, didn’t do it a bit of good. Same fate will befall Vegas if it can’t stay well above the 2.0 level with non-seniors.

  • sam

    CBS is the one emphasizing the older group. NBC never did that so it is not the same situation. I guess we will see, but it seems stupid to even produce shows that clearly won’t appeal to kids if that is all that they want. A shame to waste everybody’s time when we can just go to cable.

  • sam

    Also, 25 to 54 not exactly seniors.

  • Chris

    @Sam – I think some networks hope that the nostalgia factor for older actors/actresses will entice a younger audience to watch a show. Betty White’s Off Their Rockers is a prime example. I think NBC hoped that Kathy Bates would bring the same effect for Harry’s Law. They just happened to be wrong.

    The real harm is if the show becomes unprofitable for the network because that show’s ad revenue cannot cover the per-episode license fee paid to the studio. Harry’s Law could bring in older viewers, but not great enough ad revenue. Hence, it was canceled.

  • Hugh

    He also did a great interview on KCRW’s The Business if anyone wants to hear it.

    Scheduling CBS in Primetime

  • The End

    @Chris

    Spot on. If Harry’s Law skewed younger, it would of been considered a ‘hit show’ and renewed.

    The network didn’t hate the show or anything. If anything with all those viewers there was no way to make a great deal of money off it so it had to go. Same applys to any show doing poorly as noted by many people here.

    Kudos for being entirely correct with your comment there.

  • joss

    “now that they have at least one competitor either “beating” or nearly “beating” them on every night among adults 18-49. ”

    And who is that suppose to be? NBC ?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “now that they have at least one competitor either “beating” or nearly “beating” them on every night among adults 18-49. ”

    And who is that suppose to be? NBC ?

    NBC on Sunday (till football is over), Monday & Tuesday
    Perhaps ABC on Sunday after football, but who knows
    Fox & ABC on Wednesday
    Thursday, perhaps ABC or Fox, likely NFLN during football season
    ABC on Friday
    Nobody cares about Saturday

  • merraanga

    nobody cares about saturday??? what about Legend of Korra?

  • Jon23812

    @merraaga, he’s talkibg abot broadcast networks. Korra airs on cable.

  • THE OLD MAN

    Bill, a cynic? Who wooda thought!

    I agree w/ Sunday & Monday, but think they will rule on Tues, then Thurs (after football season), but football will give them the season’s win w/ the Superbowl.

    Game on, buddy!

    CBS TUES & THURS

  • scifi

    Old news, CBS sells 25-54, not 18-49:
    https://twitter.com/BillBriouxTV/status/229616913213435905

  • Wally Sparks

    I’ve worked in media buying, the major companies who spend the most in ad buying primarily look at A25-54 and W25-54.

  • JFC

    I work for a communications consulting company in Boston. Because of the election we have several campaigns who we are buying time for that don’t care about demographics all they want to see is total audience numbers.

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