CBS came up with a discovery that may surprise some observers — and may encourage those in the industry who have been lamenting a perceived overall decline in television viewing in recent years — when it crunched the viewer numbers for the first part of the 2016-2017 season.
The network announced today that its prime-time entertainment series are averaging more viewers this season, taking into account multiple viewing platforms, than they did during the comparable period 16 years ago. The network analyzed data for the first six weeks of the 2016-2017 season, vs. the same time frame in the 2000-2001 season.
The data for the current season measures total viewers using a relatively long-term metric: live + 35-day audience. And therein lies the catch: Back in 2000-2001, only live viewing was measured.
Sixteen years ago, CBS’s most-watched show was “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which averaged 20.81 million total viewers during the period, based on live viewing. The network’s top show this season is “The Big Bang Theory,” which topped the “Raymond” total with 22.23 million total viewers, using the L+35 measure.
Overall, CBS’s prime-time entertainment shows have a slight edge this season over the average from 16 years ago. The lineup is averaging 12.62 million in the period across multiple platforms, vs. 12.61 million for live viewing in the 2000-2001 season.
The analysis uses data from Nielsen, Rentrak/comScore and CBS’s internal figures. Here’s the breakdown by show, released by CBS …