Programs Feeling the iTunes Effect

Mar 27, 2006  •  Post A Comment

At least eight shows have attracted additional viewers via on-demand services and in their television runs as a result of being made available on iTunes. iTunes does not release specific download figures but does include a dynamic ranking of top downloaded shows on the service.

The early winners:

‘The Office’ (NBC)

Since shifting to Thursday night Jan. 5, the show has averaged a 4.7 rating/11 share in adults 18 to 49, a 27 percent increase over ratings for the show earlier this season and an 88 percent rise over last season’s average, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The show has been among the top 10 most downloaded videos since it went live in December on iTunes. The six episodes since “The Office” moved to Thursday have delivered the six highest 18 to 49 ratings ever, overlapping with their iTunes run.

‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ ‘Dora the Explorer’ and ‘Zoey 101’ (Nickelodeon)

Nickelodeon was on the vanguard of the trend toward making shows available on-demand via new media. The Viacom-owned network introduced full-length episodes of its shows on broadband last summer, adding iTunes to the mix in late January.

“SpongeBob SquarePants” is up 5 percent in kids 2 to 11 in the first quarter of 2006 compared with the fourth quarter of 2005; it also comprises 42 percent of all Nickelodeon iTunes sales to date. What’s more, in the last four months it has garnered nearly 1 million on-demand views on Comcast VOD.

The first-quarter ratings for “Zoey 101” are up 40 percent in tweens (kids 9 to 14) since it launched more than a year ago. Also, it has delivered more than 1.1 million online streams of episodes through TurboNick since July 2005 and more than 2 million VOD views since March 2005. It makes up 37 percent of the network’s iTunes downloads.

“Dora the Explorer” has seen its ratings rise 16 percent among kids 2 to 5 for the first quarter of 2006 compared with the same time period a year ago, and it also has served up nearly 2.8 million streams this year on broadband, the highest of any Nick Jr. show. On iTunes it has accounted for 19 percent of the Nickelodeon’s iTunes sales and regularly corrals about 1 million to 1.5 million views per month on Comcast VOD, the most of any Nick Jr. show.

‘Project Runway’ (Bravo)

Overall, the second season averaged 1.3 million adults 18 to 49, up 75 percent from season one. Season-to-date episodes were made available March 1 on iTunes. As of late last week the show’s finale was among the top 30 downloaded TV shows on iTunes. Also, the “Project Runway” section of NBC Universal-owned Bravo’s Web site generated 77 million page views during the season.

‘Lost’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’ (ABC)

The Walt Disney Co. shows that christened the video iPod in October are still ranking high in the iTunes world and on-air.

Multiple episodes of “Lost” regularly pepper the top 20 TV shows lists on iTunes; late last week the show had corralled 12 of the top 20 most downloaded TV shows on iTunes. An episode of “Desperate Housewives” was No. 2.

In addition, the shows are still rising on-air. Total viewers for original episodes of shows that have aired since October compared with the same time period a year ago have increased by 5 percent for “Lost” and 3 percent for “Desperate Housewives.”

‘The Suite Life of Zack & Cody’ (Disney Channel)

The show has been available on iTunes since Disney made the landmark deal with the company in October, and the show’s ratings on-air have risen in that period compared with the same period a year ago. “Suite Life” is up 9 percent with kids 6 to 11; 8 percent with tweens 9 to 14 and 13 percent with persons over 2. On iTunes, three episodes of the show were in the top 40.

‘X Games’ (ESPN)

ESPN’s “X Games” set records in late January, at the same time the games coverage was made available across multiple media. TV viewing set an all-time record with an average household viewership of 747,000 homes across Disney properties ABC Sports, ESPN and ESPN2. Also, ESPN.com delivered nearly 800,000 Winter X Games video clips, while broadband service ESPN 360 served up live event coverage and iTunes offered two video features a day.

‘XPlay’ (G4)

Since G4 began offering XPlay as a podcast in November, the program has increased its TV audience by 9 percent, from 170,000 to about 185,000.

Podcast downloads have grown from about 42,000 in November to 1.17 million in January. The podcasts are free and available on both iTunes and G4’s Web site. The network has also added more videos during the past few months, another reason for the growth in number of downloads.