Monday, October 18, 2010

Revisiting "Peetooplus" - It's Still a Demo World

A little over ten months ago, I embarked on a journey to "prove," using what very little advertising cost data is available to the public, that the number of adults age 18-49 watching a program is much more important than the number of viewers of all ages. Yesterday, Ad Age released the 2010-11 version of the article from which I got all the numbers. In the article, you can read all the disclaimers about how these numbers are pretty rough estimates and not indicative of all the ad buying, but I think they're close enough to get a good idea about some trends. I'll look at a couple other things with these numbers later this week, but for now I wanted to start with a redux of my "Peetooplus" project that looks at total viewers and young adult demo viewers vs. ad rates.

This year, I looked at 48 fall programs that returned to the same timeslot. That's way more than I had last year, since I now have averages for several returning shows that I didn't last year. (To reiterate from last year's version, I just look at same timeslot shows to try to limit the influence of speculation in the ad rates, but no doubt it's still a factor.) The next two scatter plots show Live + Same Day, original only adults 18-49 average vs. ad rates and then total viewer average vs. ad rates.

As with last year's version, the easiest way to go is just the eye test; the adults 18-49 one looks much more linear. The viewer one has a better correlation than last year's (r = 0.61 this year compared to 0.46 last year), but the demo correlation is still much, much stronger (at r = 0.92). This methodology isn't perfect because of how many things go into setting these numbers, including but not limited to speculation, other demos more specific than all adults 18-49, and small differences between Live + SD and commercial ratings, but it's still a pretty strong correlation between adults 18-49 and ad rates, and not nearly as strong a correlation between total viewers and ad rates.

I'm not gonna rehash too much of the stuff I did in last year's post, and I encourage you to look at last year's version if you want me to drill home the "demo matters" point in a few other ways. I will look at this particular stat again: when I take all the prices per demo point for all these shows and average them, along with the prices per million viewers, just 9 of 48 shows fall more than 25% off of the A18-49 price average (which is roughly $44,000/spot for each 1.0 in A18-49), while 28 of 48 shows fall more than 25% away from the total viewer price average.

That's one additional way of showing there's a much better correlation, but what I wanted to look at is those 9 outliers. One is Dateline NBC, a Friday show just barely outside of that arbitrary 25% range (it commands 26% less than the ~$44,000 average price per demo point). Then there are these eight major outliers, four that get huge rates considering their demo and four that get miniscule rates considering their demo.

Show A18-49 Price ($) $/A18-49 diff
48 Hours Mystery 1.35 34979 25910.37 -41.09%
Cops 1 1.63 41167 25255.83 -42.58%
Cops 2 1.81 45396 25080.66 -42.98%
America's Most Wanted 1.65 47086 28536.97 -35.12%

The Simpsons 3.46 253170 73170.52 +66.35%
The Cleveland Show 3.16 188997 59809.18 +35.97%
Family Guy 3.85 259289 67347.79 +53.11%
American Dad! 2.89 173880 60166.09 +36.78%

Now, I don't really claim to know why these shows claim rates so disproportionate to their demos, but the first four shows air on Saturday, which probably makes them particularly un-sexy options for advertisers on this night widely pronounced dead. Only ABC's college football franchise commands something close to a typical price per demo on that evening.

The last four are all animated comedies airing on Fox Sundays. Even considering they are strong in the hard-to-find males 18-34 demo and are heavily viewed live*, it may seem shocking just how many ad dollars they get for their demos. But it's nothing new; last year The Simpsons and Family Guy were also the two biggest outliers I could find.

*- In my Same Day DVR research, all four shows saw at least 88% of their Live + SD viewing take place live, well above the 81% average for returning scripted shows.

There are definitely a handful of shows floating around out there for which the raw adults 18-49 numbers don't tell the story of their appeal (or lack thereof) to advertisers. For the overwhelming majority of shows, though, adults 18-49 is still quite a good indicator. Not that this is really that valid statistically, but throw out the eight outlying shows above and the correlation coefficient for adults 18-49 vs. ad rates improves to r = 0.95. Pretty solid.

A few other observations to come later!

1 comment:

Igwell said...

I would guess that, since the Sunday cartoons do well in the male demo against football, it reaches an audience that doesn't watch much television -- some college kids, some people who play RPGs most nights, some internet people.

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