Live+SD Adults 18-49 Ratings Are Still Good Enough (For Us), Part II

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

September 30th, 2012

Folks at the networks continue to sing the note,that Live+SD ratings give a "too soon!" look and that it's necessary to wait for more data (e.g. Live+3 and/or Live+7). They'll sing that note even more loudly this season.

Bill  weighed in with "part 1" late last week, but with some L+3 ratings being released today, I saw lots of tweets like this one  on Twitter today (not singling out Joe Flint, it's just the most recent one I saw):

Seeing boost CBS Monday numbers get from 3 days worth of DVR once again proof that fast nationals and overnights means little these days.

I agree with the notion that Live+SD doesn't measure as much as L+3 or L+7. But I disagree that the Live+SD (even the fast nationals) mean little these days. In fact, in the case of the first two days of the season, when it comes to CBS the Live+3 data didn't really tell us anything we didn't know with the Live+SD data.

We assumed Partners wasn't long for the world on Tuesday morning. And despite the low Live+SD number for Hawaii Five-0, we weren't worried about it at those levels because it already has a syndication deal.

In terms of which shows get canceled and renewed it's relative ratings for the network that matter,  and the relative landscape hardly changes at all Live+SD vs. Live+3 (or Live+7, for that matter).

Let's look at the first two days of CBS's season (it's all we have the L+3 data for so far, or I would've included more):

Show L+SD A18-49 L+3 A18-49
NCIS 4.1 4.9
2 Broke Girls 3.7 4.6
How I Met Your Mother 3.6 4.4
NCIS: LA 3.4 4.0
Mike & Molly 3.1 3.8
Vegas 2.5 3.4
Partners 2.4 2.6
Hawaii Five-0 1.8 2.6

Of course Monday and Tuesday are two of CBS's strongest days, and based on two days of data, the only show in any danger is Partners (and it's in a lot of danger). But we knew that with the Live+SD ratings too.

The two 10PM shows had the highest % gains, but that's fairly typical with 10pm shows, and it still didn't change the relative ratings landscape over those two days.

You might have noticed the rank order of the list is not only closely the same, but exactly the same no matter which column you use. It's possible that Hawaii Five-0 jumped a little ahead of partners (we saw ratings rather than L+3 viewers A18-49), but again, we knew Hawaii Five-0 wasn't in any trouble and that Partners was on Tuesday.

Over the course of the season, shows do change a few spots here and there in one ranking vs. the other, but the overall landscape doesn't change much at all.

I can understand why people  would conclude the Live+SD ratings "don't tell the full story," but I can't fathom why anyone who doesn't work at a network would conclude the L+SD ratings mean little.

As for the people who work at the ad-supported television networks, they are in the business of selling commercials and everything they do (and say!) is in service of that primary objective. One data point I can understand them wanting to wait on is the aggregate primetime ratings where Nielsen measures Y/Y performance. If the networks are way down in Live+SD viewing but flat or up in the Live+3 & +7 numbers, that's certainly not meaningless to them. But that doesn't mean that the Live+SD ratings mean little -- at least not if what you care about is which shows will be renewed and canceled. If that's what you care about the Live+SD numbers still tell you pretty much everything you need to know.

 

 
  • Terry

    Do you have the live +3 numbers for the other networks?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Just NBC, though I imagine the others will show up tomorrow.

    Monday
    Voice: 4.37 L+SD -> 5.18 L3 (+0.81)
    Revolution: 3.45 L+SD -> 5.19 L3 (+1.74)

    Tuesday
    Voice: 4.19 L+SD -> 4.85 L3 (+0.66)
    Go On: 2.67 L+SD -> 3.19 L3 (+0.52)
    New Normal: 2.00 L+SD -> 2.77 L3 (+0.77)
    Parenthood: 1.80 L+SD -> 2.51 L3 (+0.71)

  • Nick

    I thought L+7 doesn’t matter…?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    @Nick: they don’t as far as figuring out renewals and cancellations.

    As noted, the only place I can see them mattering at all is in determining if as many people are watching a particular network in primetime compared to previous years.

  • Casey

    Partners got no bump at all going from same day to L3 and that’s as it should be. You could go to L7 or L365 and it still isn’t going to help that dog of a show.

  • Observer

    If they’re good enough for you, they’re good enough for me.

  • Martin

    As far as looking at the shows to see if people were at least interested enough in them early on to check out an episode within 3 days of it airing, it shows Partners in extreme danger, at least with Vegas people actually seemed to want to watch that. For me, Live+SD most important obviously but live+3 shows the potential the show has to grow in live+SD so Vegas could grow, Partners NO.

    Also, Revolution beat The Voice in L+3, WOW. Also, NBC Monday and Tuesday line-up is pretty solid.

  • The End

    Very well said there Robert, a solid article.

  • Anthony

    As far as looking at the shows to see if people were at least interested enough in them early on to check out an episode within 3 days of it airing, it shows Partners in extreme danger, at least with Vegas people actually seemed to want to watch that. For me, Live+SD most important obviously but live+3 shows the potential the show has to grow in live+SD so Vegas could grow, Partners NO.

    It doesn’t really show that people want to check out Vegas though. It had about the same amount of increase as EVERY other show (not counting Partners of course). All the shows increased between .6 and .9 so based on that, Vegas is still the second worst Mon-Thur drama on the schedule (the only lower ranked is 5-0 and that already has a syndication deal). If Vegas increased drastically more so than the other shows, I could see your point but it didn’t so it still doesn’t have much potential.

  • Aeiouy

    I want Retionistas to see the live +3 revolution data showing revolution growing from its lead in outside of same day

  • Nick

    @Robert

    Thanks

    @Aeiouy

    Revolution actually gets great retention out of the Voice, not that it matters.

  • DW

    Vegas isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. it won its time time slot in a very strong time slot up against SOA and tosh.o. the L+3 rating doesnt mean much to most of these because they hit L+SD. these numbers could only help boost PR.

  • John_M

    When they talk +3 and +7 – are they referring to methods in which viewers are still stuck watching commercials (most on demand on my cable box for the major networks doesn’t allow me to fast forward) or other formats. I watch almost every show ‘after’ it has aired via DVR so that I can skip commercials.

    Heck, even a show I watch ‘live’ I delay about 1/3 of the way – that tends to be the sweet spot for ending on time but still missing commercials.

  • CrimTV

    @Robert

    WOW Revolution actually beat The Voice by a 0.01 of a point in Live+3

  • Travis

    Good point made about the fact show ranks did not change despite the the +3 data. Means early data is an important indicator. If Partners is in trouble, hard to imagine why Hawaii five 0 would not be. It is likely more expensive to produce than the other CBS shows that beat its rating share.

  • John_M

    If Partners is in trouble, hard to imagine why Hawaii five 0 would not be. I

    It’s explained pretty clearly in the article why 5-0 would not be in as much trouble

  • Max Vrany

    @Travis, Hawaii Five-0 already has a syndication deal (read as “lots of cash coming later”). Partners doesn’t have a syndication deal and CBS “always” cancels their lowest rated new sitcom, which this year happens to be Partners*.

    *CBS’s highest rated new sitcom also happens to be Partners, but that’s beyond the scope of this discussion.

  • Travis

    @John M – I read the part about the syndication deal. Ratings matter in there too. If L+SD ratings stay this low for a show only in its third season it will be hard to justify the price paid per episode in syndication.

    @Max Your outside discussion point is well placed and humorously noted.

  • Lisa

    About the syndication of Hawaii Five-0: it went to TNT, I’ve heard for roughly $2.5 million an episode. So is TNT obligated to pay that amount for every episode of the show that CBS produces, no matter how it performs in its CBS airings? Because if so, I’d think that this series is safe even at 1.8 or lower in the demo. CBS would get the $2.5 million (or so) per episode plus the ad revenue, DVD sales, whatever else. All that would have to bring in more than each episode costs them to make.

  • TomSFBay

    With the DVR increases getting more and more significant, I wonder how much longer it will be until they figure out a way to lock the commercials and force us to watch them. Eventually that will happen.

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