The DVR Skew: Delayed Viewing Brings Little Good News for Low Rated Shows Like Minority Report or Sleepy Hollow

By | January 6, 2016

minority-report-fox-cancelledThe final Live+7 numbers are in now for the Fall season so it is worth taking a look at how the genre shows stack up once the numbers “that matter” according to the broadcast networks have been tallied. The table below is sorted by each show’s average season to date Live+7 rating and the first thing that jumps out is the fact that if you sorted them by the average Live+SD rating then the order does not change that much. Several shows would shift by one slot or so, but the order stays basically the same. ABC’s Once Upon A Time would actually jump up two slots on the list to Number 2 if sorted by the overnight averages, meaning that Gotham and Limitless have higher delayed viewing and supposedly are performing better if you believe current net-speak. But given a choice, I would take Once Upon A Time as the most likely of the three to get another season. In percentage gains, you will see two shows at the bottom of the list–Vampire Diaries and The Originals–posting the highest numbers and I do believe both of those will be back next season. But not because of their delayed viewing results. I believe Vampire Diaries will get one more season to wrap up its storylines and The Originals will get the nod because of its third season show status. Next highest in percentage gains is Friday entry Grimm and then revival series Heroes Reborn, but both of those I consider to be on very iffy standing at the moment.

The most important thing to glean from this table is that delayed viewing numbers would not help low-rated shows like Minority Report or Sleepy Hollow jump ten places in the ranking even though both are seeing over 70% in gains. Blaming the overnights, which the networks have been doing this season with their ratings in the toilet, only diverts from the fact that viewership in general is falling off amongst the broadcast nets. The fact is that the overnights remain the leading indicators of a show’s audience despite what the network executives say. Whether that is truly fair and whether the Nielsen measurements are truly accurate is a whole other conversation. But when trying to predict which way the networks will go as far as renewal/cancellation decisions, the overnights continue to be the best prognosticators. They don’t always hit the mark, but they are reliable much more often than not.

Following are the delayed viewing results for the broadcast network sci fi / fantasy shows through the week of December 14th (metric definitions below):

Rank Live+7 Series Network Avg Over-night Rtg Live+7 Days Tracked Live+SD Avg Rating Tracked for Live+7 Avg Live+7 Rtg Live+7 % Gain Cancellation Alert
1 Supergirl CBS 1.9 8 1.9 2.8 49.7% Low
2 Gotham FOX 1.5 11 1.5 2.7 75.9% Low
3 Limitless CBS 1.5 11 1.5 2.6 73.1% Low
4 Once Upon A Time ABC 1.6 10 1.6 2.6 65.0% Low
5 Agents of SHIELD ABC 1.4 10 1.4 2.4 68.3% Moderate
6 Heroes Reborn NBC 1.3 8 1.3 2.3 81.4% Medium
7 The Flash CW 1.4 9 1.4 2.3 62.2% Low
8 The Last Man on Earth FOX 1.3 7 1.2 2.0 65.1% Elevated
9 Scream Queens FOX 1.1 11 1.1 1.9 79.3% Elevated
10 Grimm NBC 0.9 6 0.9 1.7 85.7% Medium
11 Arrow CW 1.0 3 1.1 1.7 57.6% Low
12 Sleepy Hollow FOX 0.9 8 0.9 1.6 78.1% High
13 Supernatural CW 0.7 6 0.7 1.3 78.6% Low
14 Minority Report FOX 0.7 7 0.7 1.2 70.6% High
15 Vampire Diaries CW 0.6 9 0.6 1.1 96.0% Low
16 iZombie CW 0.6 2 0.5 0.9 70.0% Moderate
17 The Originals CW 0.4 9 0.4 0.8 94.7% Low

Metric Definitions:

Avg Overnight Rtg: The season to date average rating based on the final overnights for live broadcast.

Live+7 Days Tracked: The days that the Live+7 data was available for a show in the Live+7 Top 25 charts published by TV by The Numbers.

Live+SD Avg Rtg Tracked for Live+7: This is the average Live+SD rating for the Live+7 Days Tracked above.  This will vary from the Avg Overnight Rtg because of the two week delay on Live+7 data.

Avg Live+7 Rtg: The season to date average rating based on the Live+7 numbers for the Live+7 Days Tracked (see metric above).

Live+7 % Gain: The average Live+7 rating percent gain from the average overnight rating based on the Live+7 Days Tracked (see metric above).  The more datapoints available in the Live+7 Days Tracked, the more accurate this will be and the closer the math will work.  Shows with fewer datapoints will have larger discrepancies.

Cancellation Alert: My estimation on a show’s chances of being cancelled.  The five levels from least to most likely to be cancelled are Low, Moderate, Medium, Elevated, and High.

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