Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Summer Climate, Weeks 36-40


The Climate is back for the first of three looks at the "big picture" numbers of the broadcast networks' summer!
Week-by-week:

Week Ending TPUT y2y bc y2y LeAv y2y
366/2/201330.6 -1% 4.5 -8% 1.53 -7%
376/9/201329.2 -4% 5.6 +16% 1.63 -3%
386/16/201328.7 -3% 6.2 -10% 1.58 -7%
396/23/201329.0 -1% 6.1 +8% 1.60 +1%
406/30/201328.8 -1% 4.4 -14% 1.37 -18%

Season-to-date:

Week Ending TPUTy2d y2dy2y bcy2d y2dy2y LAy2d y2dy2y
366/2/201330.6 -1% 4.5 -8% 1.40 -9%
376/9/201329.9 -2% 5.0 +4% 1.49 -7%
386/16/201329.5 -2% 5.4 -2% 1.52 -7%
396/23/201329.4 -2% 5.6 +1% 1.54 -5%
406/30/201329.2 -2% 5.4 -2% 1.50 -8%

The problem with really drilling into these on a week-to-week basis during the summer is that they can be so hugely influenced by the few things that are high-rated. The combined broadcast ratings were nearly even across the first month of the summer even as most of the entertainment shows disappointed, thanks to a longer NBA Finals and a much stronger Stanley Cup Finals. But if sports has giveth in the early summer, sports will soon taketh away to a much greater extent, as in a few weeks we'll start comparing against the 2012 Summer Olympics. Even the lower-rated Olympic Trials have caused some ugly year-to-year comparisons recently.

The summer league average at times looked healthier than it probably "should" have thanks to NBC running The Voice four weeks into the summer. Things got much uglier last week, the first without The Voice. But I hesitate to say the picture is considerably uglier than the -8% suggests, as much of The Voice's influence has been cancelled out by the heavier volume of burn-offs being aired on Saturday. (At this time last year, it was pretty much just half-hour How to Be a Gentleman and the occasional episode of The Firm counting toward the league average on Saturday. This past Saturday, there were four original hours on the night, all of which ranged between 0.3 and 0.5.) We'll see if the league average actually benefits from the Olympics' absence.



Click to expand for more on the "climate" numbers used herein.

TPUT - This is an ESTIMATED average of how many people are watching TV from 8:00 to 11:00.
  • I derive these numbers by adding up all the ratings and dividing by all the shares in each of the 42 half-hours each week. That means there is some error relative to the numbers Nielsen actually releases. Sadly we don't regularly have access to those. I always advise not to rely heavily on these numbers for any one show in any one week, but the hope is that the error is minimized across a 42-timeslot sample every week.
  • I include the Old Methodology adjustment, which makes the number more like a measurement of how many people watch primetime programming Live + SD, rather than a measurement of how many people watch any TV (including old DVR stuff) from 8:00 to 11:00. This makes the number perhaps less intuitive in a vacuum, but it's pretty much a wash when making week-to-week and year-to-year comparisons, which is what we're really interested in.
bc - This is an average of how many people are watching national broadcast TV from 8:00 to 11:00.
  • This does NOT include the 10:00 adjustment used in the True2 calculation which attempts to account for Fox/CW programming and stronger cable. Again, that perhaps hurts the number in a vacuum, because the 10:00 numbers being used only include three networks, so I'm averaging timeslots that are somewhat apples-to-oranges. But again, it's a wash when making comparisons because I treat it that way all the time. It would not really change week-to-week or year-to-year comparisons, and that's what I mostly care about.
  • Another important note here is that these numbers include the preliminary averages for "sustaining" programming like presidential debates and commercial-free benefit concerts whose numbers are typically omitted from traditional Nielsen averages. I might eventually omit these from this particular calculation, but they're needed on my spreadsheets to 1) make PUT calculations in those timeslots and 2) create a competition number for the entertainment shows that air against them.
LeAv - This is a measurement of how many people watch the average moment of original entertainment series programming on the big four networks. Meaning, no sports, no reruns, no specials, no movies, no sustaining programming included.

Note: Beginning with week 9, all numbers compare against the next numbered week in the 2011-12 season. So week 9 compares against week 10 of 2011-12, etc. This was done to make the comparisons more calendar-friendly. See here for more on that.

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