In Depth

'Lost,' 'SNL,' 'Grey's' Tops in Online Viewing, Nielsen Says

In the first report of its kind on online video viewership of television shows, Nielsen reported today that “Lost” is the most popular TV show watched on the Web, followed by “Saturday Night Live” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“Lost” drew 1.4 million unique viewers in December, “Saturday Night Live” attracted 1.1 million, and the ABC medical drama lured 879,000 uniques, Nielsen said.

The measurement company tracks viewing on network Web sites but not on Hulu, which is a major player in the online television business. That site draws between 6 million and 9 million unique visitors a month watching a wide range of TV shows. Hulu does not report Nielsen Video Census data, Nielsen said.

However, as one of the first efforts to track specific show viewing on the Web, Nielsen’s report today is noteworthy.

Overall, online video viewership across the Web was flat in December, with about 125 million unique visitors watching 9.6 billion streams, about the same as in November.

Table 1: Top 10 Online Broadcast TV Network Entertainment Programs* for December 2008 ranked by Unique Viewers (U.S.)

Untitled Document

Program Network Unique Viewers (000)
Lost ABC.com 1,425
Saturday Night Live NBC.com 1,111
Grey's Anatomy ABC.com 879
Desperate Housewives ABC.com 723
Heroes NBC.com 685
Ugly Betty ABC.com 631
Samantha Who? ABC.com 560
Scrubs ABC.com 519
Survivor CBS Television 496
True Beauty ABC.com 462
     
Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus