Delayed Viewing Is Shattering Records, Pumping Up New Series — and in Some Cases, Changing the Way Networks Look at Ratings

Oct 2, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Some of the new television shows are getting a lot of help from delayed viewing via online streaming or DVR taping, with some of the results "eye-popping," reports Bill Carter in The New York Times’ Media Decoder.

NBC’s new drama "Revolution,’ for example, added 3.7 million viewers to its original total, representing a gain of 41%, the story points out.

The numbers are even more striking in the key demo of viewers 18-49. “Revolution” started with a promising 3.4 rating in the advertiser-friendly demo, but added 1.74 ratings points from delayed viewing — a 53% jump — to climb to a 5.2. The increase is a record for any new series.

“’Revolution’ was the biggest gainer, but the general trend was positive across the board, with an average gain of 26% in that 18-49 category,” Carter writes. “That kind of bounce is so significant that at least one network on Monday was contemplating not releasing or commenting on its ratings in the future until the three-day results were released.”

Two other new fall series benefiting from delayed viewing are CBS’s “Vegas” and NBC’s “The New Normal.”

Carter writes: “Among new shows, which often are less recorded until viewers get to know them, the CBS drama ‘Vegas’ got a nice lift to a 3.2 rating from a 2.5; and NBC’s new comedy ‘The New Normal’ looked far better after three days with a 2.8, up from a 2.0 — a gain of 40%.”

"The results seemed to prove that patience will be more important than ever with new series," Carter notes.

CBS also saw low results for its returning drama "Hawaii Five-0" on Tuesday, with its worst-ever rating in 18-to-49 for its initial telecast. But by three days later, that 1.8 rating in the demographic had climbed to a 2.6 rating, which Carter calls "a respectable number."

The piece adds: “The biggest takeaway in the television business from the season’s first week is that first impressions of a new show’s success may mean next to nothing now.”


  1. I wondered if this wasn’t the case. CBS was asking people who had VEGAS on their DVR’s to give it a watch all over football coverage last Sunday. Linear viewing may be all but dead.

  2. I like that the Networks KNOW they can still measure ratings even with the drop in linear viewing; it makes me happy to know that they aren’t as bad off as they claim, considering their anger at DISH and my new DVR the Hopper. I think people are going to rely more and more on the DVR, and the networks will need to come up with something new to maintain their advertizing revenue. The Hopper lets me set Prime Time Anytime, which records every prime time show on all four major networks. I also like my AutoHop feature, which lets me skip the ads on these recordings. I’m not too interested in ratings; I know what I like, and when I like to watch it. I have a busy schedule at DISH, so DVR is key in my house.

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