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.

 

 
  • Travis

    @Lisa Depends on how the deal is structured. It is not likely to be written in stone. Also, I doubt merely breaking even is the network’s objective. Over all, it is too soon to tell how the ratings will affect the show, if at all.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “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.”

    I’d assume there are current performance metrics for the show that are tied to payments. So lower ratings now may mean lower payment from TNT. Even so, Hawaii Five-0 ratings would have to become an absolute disaster for it to be yanked prior to the end of next season.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “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.”

    Fast forwarding is already disabled for many shows in Video on Demand viewing. At some point VOD may become a significant viewing source, but right now it’s still tiny. Networks/studios can drive this because they decide under what terms a show goes to VOD.

    Highly unlikely that DVR FFing gets disabled, networks do not control a show once you have recorded it yourself.

  • Freddy Arrow

    @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.”

    Like Bill, I doubt this will happen, but if it it does, that will be the day I cancel my cable service and go to the dark side and start downloading shows.

  • yoda

    Does it matter that Partners was the only new show up against a juggernaut of competition that night? Doesn’t CBS take that into account??

  • Max Vrany

    @Bill, I think the simpler answer is that TNT doesn’t care about how Hawaii Five-0 does on CBS, they only care about how it does on TNT. (And what it does to their network as a whole.)

  • Mark Wood

    Max

    Good point because TNT certainly is aware that a shows original ratings are not tied to how that show will perform on the cable station, if that were true Supernatural would always be the lowest rated show on TNT, yet even airing at 9am and 10am it scores equal and even better to reruns on prime time of the CW, and often beats shows that originally had audiences 4 to 5 times its sized.

    Of course I am sure that TNT loves Supernatural because they probably got that for a song in comparison.

  • John_M

    @Bill

    Highly unlikely that DVR FFing gets disabled, networks do not control a show once you have recorded it yourself.

    So are the Live+3 and Live+7 numbers based on DVR viewing, VOD viewing, or some sort of combination of them all?

    Basically, I’d be disturbed to find out that the cable company knew what I was recording and when I was watching it.

  • Sarah

    @Robert

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

    Did you ever get the Live+3 numbers for Fox?

  • Mari

    /\

    and ABC too, please

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Does it matter that Partners was the only new show up against a juggernaut of competition that night? “

    Fan Excuse Bingo square B2. Well played!

© 2014 Tribune Digital Ventures