How Much Did Valentine's Day Reduce TV Ratings? Overall, 6% vs. Last Thursday

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

Written By

February 15th, 2013

If there are ratings drops for Thursday night's broadcast primetime ratings (to be posted between 11:30-Noon Eastern), you can be certain that Fan Excuse Bingo players will be covering the "But It Was Valentine's Day!" square like crazy in our comments and elsewhere.

Is there data to back that excuse up, or is it just fan desperation (and network PR spin) to claim that Valentine's Day depresses ratings?

The last two Valentine's Days that fell on weekdays saw 7% and 6% declines in overall primetime adults 18-49 viewing vs. the previous week. The last Thursday Valentine's Day (2008) saw a 4% decline. Ignore 2010 for comparison purposes, the week before Valentine's Day was Super Bowl Sunday.

Before we see the adults 18-49 PUT (people using television, you can think of it as combined total rating) for primetime last night, you can reasonably guess that Valentine's Day is likely to reduce overall adults 18-49 viewing in the mid single digit %'s.

Updated: Last Thursday (2/7/13) the adults 18-49 PUT in the primetime fast affiliate ratings was 36.3, Last night it was 34.3, a decline of 6%. That much you can blame on St. Valentine, any more than that is just Fan Excuse Bingo.

Update 2: For the Fan Excuse Bingo players grasping for that very last square, the hourly declines vs. last week were 7%, 6% and 4%.

Valentine's Day Usage Trending vs. Prior Week (2012-2008) Live + Same Day

P18-49 PUT
Tue, 2/14/2012 36.6
Tue, 2/7/2012 39.4
% change -7%
Mon, 2/14/2011 35.0
Mon, 2/7/2011 37.3
% change -6%
Sun, 2/14/2010 38.0
Sun, 2/7/2010 48.6
% change -22%
Sat, 2/14/2009 30.5
Sat, 2/7/2009 31.2
% change -2%
Thu, 2/14/2008 36.3
Thu, 2/7/2008 37.9
% change -4%

-
Source: NTI, PUTs, Live+Same Day.

 
  • Shepherd

    @Bill

    Anyway we could see the PUTs for the week following Valentines day? At least for 2012, 2011. I’m curious to see how much of those declines were perhaps seasonal declines as opposed to strictly being a result of the ‘holiday’. Thanks

  • Zed

    Random question: Why did you choose the following week not the previous one to compare to valentine’s?

  • Zed

    Oops, i meant previous not the following*

  • scifi

    Valentine’s Day will be the reason why Zero Hour failed.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    @Zed, because we won’t know next week’s ratings for a week, and by then, no one will care.

    @Shepherd, I don’t have those numbers easily available. The numbers in this post were served up nicely packaged to us.

    “Valentine’s Day will be the reason why Zero Hour failed.”

    Fan Excuse Bingo, play early, play often!

  • Agnes

    The breakdown of PUT by hour could be more telling? Seems 8pm more affected than 10pm based on 2013.

  • Shepherd

    K, Thanks.

  • Oliver

    …of course, the 6% isn’t evenly distributed.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “The breakdown of PUT by hour could be more telling? Seems 8pm more affected than 10pm based on 2013.”

    Added to the post: For the Fan Excuse Bingo players grasping for that very last square, the hourly declines vs. last week were 7%, 6% and 4%.

    “…of course, the 6% isn’t evenly distributed.”

    Indeed. The square “But the viewers of MY FAVORITE SHOW, were far more likely to be out last night” is always available! ;)

  • KJ Styles

    In addition to Valentine’s Day, you also had the Heat/Thunder game on TNT which I’m sure did a pretty good number vs broadcast TV.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “In addition to Valentine’s Day, you also had the Heat/Thunder game on TNT which I’m sure did a pretty good number vs broadcast TV.”

    There you go. I admire those who don’t just play the easy bingo squares, but take it to the next level!

  • KJ Styles

    “There you go. I admire those who don’t just play the easy bingo squares, but take it to the next level!”

    Well, the only shows I watch on the night are Big Bang Theory and Person Of Interest. I DVR’ed them both in favor of the game. While BBT’s numbers were down, it’s still the highest rated show on broadcast, and POI beat Grey’s so it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    I don’t find myself inclined to credit much of a drop from “minor” holidays like Valentine’s day. I don’t even much care much about “major” holidays.

    So I don’t think it’s reasonable to declare the poor performance of Zero Hour, for instance, the result of Valentine’s Day.

    However, I still say that the COMBO of the Grammys and The Walking Dead return OBVIOUSLY had SOME impact on Revenge, Once Upon a Time, etc. How much we will never know, but there had to be SOME impact. Competition is competition any way you slice it. If the shows I allege were affected by these events continue to drop week over week, then you can say it might be the fault of the shows themselves (absent any other large factors.)

  • KJ Styles

    “I don’t find myself inclined to credit much of a drop from “minor” holidays like Valentine’s day. I don’t even much care much about “major” holidays.”

    While I think Valentine’s Day is an overrated holiday, stats clearly say that TV ratings drop on that day as displayed above. Zero Hour probably wouldn’t have done all that well anyway, but the fact that not a single show’s ratings last night were up from last week cement the point that Valentine’s Day is not a good night for ratings.

  • Joe

    So the fact that basically every single broadcast show in the 8 and 9 PM hours is just…mere coincidence?

  • Agnes

    @Bill Gorman

    Thanks for the extra information. Its not Fan Excuse Bingo for me because I don’t like any of those 8pm shows lol. But the 8pm shows had larger decreases than the 10pm shows (which were largely stable) so I thought the PUT decrease could have been a real explanation. But you disproved that for me! Thanks.

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