"When the television season ends in May, what will matter most — for both networks and advertisers — is the ranking of shows once digital video recorder playback is included in the viewership totals. In a comeback victory for scripted shows, original episodes of ‘Modern Family’ will most likely dethrone ‘[American] Idol’ this season as television’s favorite show for those valuable 18-49-year-olds — just as the CBS drama ‘NCIS’ will most likely beat ‘Idol’ for the first time for most overall viewers with its original episodes."
The article, primarily about the influence of DVRs and streaming on TV, notes, "DVRs are now in 43 percent of the American households that have televisions. The growth in DVR ownership is starting to slow down, but other manners of time-shifting — like cable video-on-demand views and Internet stream views — are speeding up, making it harder than ever to assess the total popularity of a show."
One of the executives interviewed for the story is Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment: "’So we can now truly monetize appointment television,’ Mr. Lee said. He noted that in the past, Thursday night shows carried the highest prices in television, because advertisers paid a premium to reach people before their movie openings or weekend car sales. ‘Now they buy us on Wednesday,’ Mr. Lee said, the day that new ‘Modern Family’ episodes are broadcast, ‘and they know they are going to get Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday…’ "