The DVR Skew: Delayed Viewing May Help Low Rated Cable Shows Like The Shannara Chronicles, But the Jury is Still Out on the Broadcast Net Entries

By | March 17, 2016

shannara-chronicles-mtv-cancelledThe ratings continue to sink for the broadcast networks and their execs keep insisting that the overnights are irrelevant now and they continue to tout the delayed viewing numbers.  And perhaps the recent renewal fever suggests some truth in that, but the jury is still out.  However, I do believe that the delayed viewing numbers hold more weight with the cable channels, especially in the current ratings slump environment.  With the many viewing options continuing to fragment the audience, the cable channels are grasping for the scraps of viewership available out there, but also aggressively looking at other means to fund the original programming they offer.  More and more, international partnerships and financing are entering the picture for original programming, primarily among the cable channels.  This leverages these shows across the global market and frees them from relying as heavily upon advertising revenue tied to the live broadcasts.  And that means that the same day viewing is not as important as measuring the larger audience tuning in via delayed and/or digital viewing because the international backers are more interested in the bigger picture.

Unfortunately, the delayed viewing numbers for the cable channels have not been as readily available as those for the broadcast nets (if anybody knows of a better source for these than TV by the Numbers, please let me know in the comments below).  But just recently I have seen a couple of weeks worth of results and they present some interesting numbers.  For example, the recently renewed Shadowhunters has been averaging around a 0.4 rating based on the overnights for the 18-49 demographic but appears to be almost doubling that with the Live+7 results.  MTV’s renewed Teen Wolf has also seen similar improvements which bodes well for that network’s low-rated The Shannara Chronicles which grew its audience by 160% over a two week period.  Other cable entries I have noted posting decent delayed viewing gains of late are Colony (USA) and The Magicians (Syfy), both of which have been renewed.  So while I am still not ready to say that delayed viewing is more heavily influencing the renewal / cancellation decisions by the broadcast networks, I believe it is factoring in for the cable channels and will try to keep a close eye out for those numbers over the coming weeks and months.

Still, the most recent delayed viewing numbers for the broadcast network shows present an interesting picture.  Lucifer and Limitless both look okay on the chart below even though I have their Cancellation Alert status at Moderate due to recent declines in their overnights.  Lucifer‘s delayed viewing gains are skewed toward that show’s earlier episodes when it still had The X-Files as its lead-in (these results are on a 2+ week delay).  But Limitless has continued to post solid gains in Live+7 viewing.  It would seem that both of these shows should get renewed if the networks really are looking at the big picture, but we will see how that plays out.  Also, The Last Man on Earth should theoretically be safe based on the results here, but I’m not ready to make that call just yet.  And note where Heroes Reborn is on this list.  You would have thought is delayed viewing gains would have pushed it toward renewal, but NBC decided to ax it instead.

Following are the delayed viewing results for the broadcast network sci fi / fantasy shows through the week of March 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 The X-Files FOX 3.2 6 3.2 4.9 54.7% Low
2 Lucifer FOX 1.6 5 1.8 3.0 63.0% Moderate
3 Supergirl CBS 1.7 10 1.9 2.7 48.1% Low
4 Gotham FOX 1.5 11 1.5 2.7 75.9% Renewed
5 Once Upon A Time ABC 1.5 10 1.6 2.6 65.0% Renewed
6 Limitless CBS 1.4 13 1.5 2.6 74.1% Moderate
7 Agents of SHIELD ABC 1.4 10 1.4 2.4 68.3% Renewed
8 The Flash CW 1.4 11 1.4 2.3 64.3% Renewed
9 Heroes Reborn NBC 1.2 11 1.2 2.1 77.3% Cancelled
10 The Last Man on Earth FOX 1.3 7 1.2 2.0 65.1% Elevated
11 Angel from Hell CBS 1.4 1 1.3 1.9 46.2% Cancelled
12 Scream Queens FOX 1.1 11 1.1 1.9 79.3% Renewed
13 Arrow CW 1.0 5 1.1 1.7 58.2% Renewed
14 Grimm NBC 0.9 7 0.9 1.7 87.5% Medium
15 Legends of Tomorrow CW 0.9 6 1.0 1.7 75.9% Renewed
16 Sleepy Hollow FOX 0.9 8 0.9 1.6 78.1% High
17 Agent Carter ABC 0.8 5 0.8 1.5 78.0% Elevated
18 Minority Report FOX 0.7 7 0.7 1.2 70.6% High
19 Supernatural CW 0.7 8 0.7 1.2 76.8% Renewed
20 Vampire Diaries CW 0.5 10 0.6 1.1 94.5% Renewed
21 The 100 CW 0.6 3 0.6 1.0 66.7% Renewed
22 Second Chance FOX 0.7 3 0.5 0.9 75.0% High
23 Galavant ABC 0.6 2 0.6 0.9 54.5% Moderate
24 iZombie CW 0.6 3 0.5 0.8 66.7% Renewed
25 The Originals CW 0.4 10 0.4 0.8 92.9% Renewed

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *