With shows with less than stellar ratings, fans always are more interested in DVR numbers.  That’s especially the case with Dollhouse because it derives a high percentage of its total viewing from DVR viewers. Plus, FOX execs are on record talking about Dollhouse’s DVR numbers.

I know many of you aren’t going to want to wait more than 2 weeks to see what Dollhouse‘s DVR viewing was for last night when a week’s worth of DVR viewing is included.  Unfortunately, we have to wait over two weeks.  But in the meanwhile, I did some simple projections based on last year’s averages.

What’s in the table? (Short Version)

The table projects DVR increases for the Friday, September 25, 2009 season premiere of Dollhouse based on season one averages.  Based on that projection, the episode will wind up with about 3.23 million viewers and a 1.4 (rounded) adults 18-49 rating when a full week of DVR viewing is factored in.

Dollhouse L+SD Viewers (millions) L+7 Viewers (millions) L+7 vs L+SD L+SD 18-49 L+7 18-49 L+7 vs L+SD2
Season 1 Average 3.72 4.70 26% 1.46 2.00 37%
9/25/2009 Actual (preliminary) 2.56 ? ? 1.00 ? ?
9/25/2009 projected 2.56 3.23 26% 1.00 1.37 37%
9/25/2009 projection vs. average -31% -31% -32% -32%

L+SD = Live plus same day (up to 3am after the night the show aired) DVR viewing. L+7 = full week of DVR viewing.  L+7 vs. L+SD = the percentage gain over L+SD with a full week’s DVR viewing.

What’s in the table? (Long Version) and what does it mean in terms of the show’s prospects?

The first line represents the averages for season one, taking into account all 12 episodes that aired.  The second line was the actual preliminary numbers that we saw for Friday night. They could definitely change in the final numbers, but we won’t see those until at Monday at the earliest or Tuesday at the latest.   The third line is projection of DVR #s based on the average increases due to DVR viewing in season one.

Kevin Reilly is often cited about the time he talked about how much he liked  the average numbers for Dollhouse’s first season, especially when it came to DVR increases.  The problem is, that averaged was arrived at with a 2.0 adults L+SD 18-49 rating in the premiere that ended with a 1.0 L+SD adults 18-49 rating in the finale.

Friday night’s numbers are not very different than the numbers for the season one finale.  However, the season one finale was well below the season average for the show even though it was included in the average.  While not much different than the season one finale, Friday night was ~31% worse than the first season’s average, even when projecting the DVR numbers in. And the 18-49 numbers are down 50% from the season one premiere (or the season one premier did 100% better in 18-49 ratings, depending on how you want to look at it).

By comparison, Ghost Whisperer was down 12% from its last year’s season premiere.

Those metrics will not go unnoticed by the brass at FOX.  How they feel about them, well that’s a topic for speculative debate.  I don’t think it’s too speculative to think they want to see how it does next week. 8)

A note on LIVE vs LIVE+SD and significant digits

Readers with good memories might ask, “Hey, WTF!?  26% increase in viewers and a 37% gain in 18-49?  I heard numbers like 48% and 68%!”

Indeed, those were the increases over live viewing.  But we never report live numbers and neither does anyone else.  Not in the overnights, and not in the weekly numbers.  We only ever even SEE those numbers anymore  in the context of figuring out the total DVR viewing.  But some of the DVR viewing happens during the same night, and is already included in the overnight and weekly national numbers we (and everybody else) report.  So,  I focus on the increases over those numbers, because those are the numbers everyone sees.

I can’t tell you how many people watched live last night, and I can’t tell you how many will watch on DVR during the first week, but I can tell you that last year, for season one, Dollhouse averaged 1.519 million DVR viewers per week, but out of the 1.519 million, on average,  540,000 of them watched it on DVR the same night (would’ve been included in the preliminary overnight and final national numbers).

As for the significant digits, for the season averages I saw ratings points out to one hundredths.  That’s not something we ever see for the overnight numbers, and we don’t see those numbers regularly.  Dollhouse’s 1.0 adults 18-49 rating on Friday (which could change in the final numbers)  could’ve been a .96 or a 1.04 so the comparisons will be off in the range of ~4% just due to that.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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