Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peetooplus - What Sells on Friday?

One more urban legend for me to tackle: the notion that total viewers are somehow an important number to Friday advertisers because the demo "isn't home." I'm keeping this post short because there are very few data points, so it's hard to say anything for sure.

Demo Price Price/pt
Ghost Whisperer 2.5 78047 31218.8
Numb3rs 2.3 85007 36959.57
Dollhouse 1.5 56370 37580

Viewers Price Price/mil
Ghost Whisperer 10.3 78047 7577.379
Numb3rs 9.4 85007 9043.298
Dollhouse 3.7 56370 15235.14

These are the only three same-timeslot shows aside from 20/20, which I don't have demo/viewer averages on. All three are being "underpaid" by the standard per-demo used for all of primetime, but the per-demo prices are still fairly consistent. And again, anything you can say negatively about the demo goes double for viewers. The prices certainly have no connection to viewers, with Dollhouse getting 36% of GW's viewers on average but managing 72% of its ad dollars. A P2+ on Dollhouse costs over twice as much. If you want to bring skew into the equation, that helps a bit. Certainly CBS Friday is very light on A18-34. But Dollhouse is one of the youngest-skewing shows on TV and is still underpaid.

So there's something else that's hurting Friday beyond even the hurting ratings. There's a good chance that all these shows were speculated (and rightfully so) to decline this year, and that explains them being underpaid. GW was inflated by a big November/December arc that had dissipated by season's end, while Dollhouse bottomed out at a 1.0. Declining ratings suggest advertisers should be abandoning this night, and they are. I'd say they're overcompensating, but I think they just expected even more drops, and they were right.

That's about all I've got to say on total viewers. They don't seem to matter in general, they don't matter (at least positively) in terms of "skew," they don't matter to CBS, and they don't matter on Fridays. If any other old wives' tales about total viewers pop up, I may do another one of these. And I hope to have a few more posts in a little while using all this ad rate data I've compiled, but none of it will have anything to do with total viewers, so thus ends the Peetooplus discussion for now. At least as far as I'm concerned. ;-)

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