May 6, 2007
House, Lost, Office Among Top Gainers from DVR Viewers

Another news bit in relation to television viewing measurement that I haven't written about yet was news from the Nielsen Company which released a list of the most timeshifted broadcast network television shows, as of the week of 02 April through 08 April 2007.

The chart revealed that House saw the greatest total gain in viewer numbers, with 2.74 million viewers watching on DVR within seven days of the show's broadcast airing, a 14.4 percent gain in the show's rating. Meanwhile, Lost had the second highest gain, with 2.474 million viewers watching through DVR. Other shows in the top 10 were American Idol, CSI, 24, Survivor, The Office, Desperate Housewives, and Prison Break. The Office had the biggest growth on the basis of percentage of viewers.

Other shows that had high gains in percentages were 30 Rock, Scrubs, Friday Night Lights, and 7th Heaven.

I did not see any data on daytime programming. I at first assumed that daytime shows on broadcast networks were included in this list but that none of them made the top 10, but John Consoli with MediaWeek cited the list as most time-shifted shows in primetime on broadcast, indicating that daytime shows were not included in these numbers.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these shows have a high degree of seriality and also do not necessarily place huge value on live viewing, in a way that the nightly news or sporting events would. A significant portion of these tend to be television series, though, in which fans would not want to miss a particular episode.

Nielsen has been struggling for some time about how to handle counting DVR viewers, and how far out advertisers would care about numbers, given a variety of time-sensitive advertising for which viewing after seven days would not be helpful. See my post from January for more on the Nielsen commercial ratings controversy.

Of course, the number of DVR viewers continues to grow in the interim, increasing the likelihood that popularity on DVR will matter more and more.

As for that initial press release, by the way, it is important to keep in mind a note included in the Zap2It story run in The Charlotte Observer: that a variety of shows were in repeats during the week in question, which skews the totals touted by Nielsen.