Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Summer Climate, Weeks 41-46

The Climate is back for the second of three looks at the "big picture" numbers of the broadcast networks' summer!

Week Ending TPUT y2y bc y2y LeAv y2y
417/7/201326.8 -3% 3.8 -9% 1.28 -15%
427/14/201328.5 -2% 4.2 -11% 1.46 -1%
437/21/201328.3 -6% 4.4 -9% 1.44 -15%
447/28/201328.2 -9% 4.4 -50% 1.48 -10%
458/4/201328.6 -12% 4.6 -62% 1.43 +36%
468/11/201329.0 -9% 4.2 -58% 1.49 +35%


Week Ending TPUTy2d y2dy2y bcy2d y2dy2y LAy2d y2dy2y
417/7/201328.8 -2% 5.1 -3% 1.47 -8%
427/14/201328.8 -2% 5.0 -4% 1.47 -7%
437/21/201328.7 -2% 4.9 -5% 1.47 -8%
447/28/201328.7 -3% 4.9 -13% 1.47 -9%
458/4/201328.7 -4% 4.8 -22% 1.46 -7%
468/11/201328.7 -5% 4.8 -27% 1.47 -6%

We'll do one more of these, but it should be pretty clear from looking at weeks 44-46 that last year's Olympics derailed any real "fairness" in these year-to-year comparisons for broadcast viewing. The combined broadcasters did well less than half of their year-ago numbers during the two full vs.-Olympic weeks (45 & 46). NBC was down about 85% over that period, Fox was about even, and ABC, CBS and the CDub were all up 20%+, but the NBC decline kind of overwhelms everything.

My whole concept of "league average" is particularly helpful here as it's certainly closer to a "fairer" comparison across these two years. But even it is far from perfect; the entertainment programs artificially benefited a bit from the lack of Olympic competition. On a week-by-week basis, the averages were way up because most programs went on a hiatus during the Olympics last year, but the summer-to-date ones are more important here.

Some time in the next year I will probably come up with a "hit for summer" label in A18-49+. I'll want to look at more than just this one summer, but for now the summer league average is almost exactly 70% of the regular season one.

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.

1 comment:

Spot said...

I like the idea of having labels for summer. I do see value in all of the labels, as there is a marginal for summer in my mind (all of those low-1's ABC shows). Under the Dome, America's Got Talent, likely Big Brother, and possibly MasterChef will be considered Big Hits for summer using summer labels.

I don't know if it feels right to potentially have 9 hours of Big Hits on the schedule in some summer weeks, but what is there after that before the league average? I think only American Ninja Warrior and The Bachelorette. Then, a whole bunch of shows would be marginal, which seems accurate, as I predict that only Big Brother, Under the Dome, MasterChef, Hell's Kitchen, America's Got Talent, American Ninja Warrior, The Bachelorette, Extreme Weight Loss, Celebrity Wife Swap, ONE of (Mistresses, Whodunnit, Secret Millionaire, and Wipeout), and ONE of (Get Out Alive and Hollywood Game Night) will come back.

The league average is also helped by not having any of the new reality shows be outright flops (save, perhaps, Does Someone Have to Go) this year.

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