Monday, March 24, 2014

The Adults 18-34 Primer, Part 3: A True Power Rankings Using 18-34 Ratings

In the first two parts of the adults 18-34 primer, we looked at the fundamentals of that demographic's audience, then at how some of the biggest shows skewed if we were using that demo rather than 18-49.

In this third and final part, we will try unifying adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 ratings into one metric. There seems to be some potential for added value in even the crudest of combinations of these ratings, as seen in the linear correlations from part one.

On the Numbers Used

Here's the process used here: this is like the usual True Power Rankings, except rather than just using the average of 18-49 ratings, I'm using the average of 18-49 ratings plus the average of 18-34 ratings. (In part one, I called this TPF, or adults 18-Thirty-four rating Plus adults 18-Forty-nine rating.) I don't know at this point whether giving the ratings equal weight is the best possible combination of the two numbers, but it's a very easy one to understand for these purposes.

The I apply the "Sitch" (or the situational adjustment, based on viewing, competition and lead-in) from the 18-49 True formula to the TPF average to get True TPF (TTPF). This is another shaky proposition, because it's quite possible that difficult timeslots for 18-49 are even more difficult percentage-wise in 18-34. But for this very basic attempt, it will have to do.

So the main point here is not to take any of this too seriously. It's just an oversimplified attempt at adding 18-34 ratings to the mix. I'll mention some of the key differences between True TPF and True 18-49, but I'm mostly gonna be pretty brief in the commentary here.

These numbers are all through March 16. As with the normal Power Rankings, the TTPF/True/A18-49 only count the last one-third of episodes, rounded up, which helps weed out inflated early episodes. (The other numbers are for the full season, making them comparable with the same numbers examined in part two.)  And to prevent numbers overload, I'm just limiting the lists to the marginal to somewhat sub-marginal scripted shows. The first show on each table is what I would consider the last lock renewal based purely on 18-49 ratings.

4Last Man Standing2.771.651.3867%6864
6The Goldbergs2.651.561.6069%8987
8Super Fun Night2.341.281.3780%91102
9Back in the Game2.241.341.5867%8984
10The Neighbors1.851.150.9257%4939
11Trophy Wife1.791.000.9575%6165

The most interesting thing to note about ABC is that they're the opposite of the way the comedy/drama dynamic usually works. Most networks' comedies skew younger than the dramas, but ABC has an older-skewing comedy brand (traditional family comedies) and a younger-skewing drama brand (soaps), so marginal dramas like Revenge and Nashville have the skew edge on marginal comedies like Last Man Standing, Suburgatory and The Goldbergs.

Nashville already gets a timeslot bump from True because it's aired after weak, incompatible 9:30 comedies all season. Then it gets another bump here from 18-34, putting it ahead of all the marginal comedies (at least a couple of which are probably pretty much renewal locks). Just another way of thinking about that show.

The True TPF inches Super Fun Night ahead of Back in the Game, which is certainly how it played out in terms of the shows' treatment. And it's also got Mixology closer to being a bubble show than the 18-49 numbers would suggest. Close enough to make it an actual bubble show? Worth keeping an eye on, but I'm doubtful.

1NCIS: Los Angeles3.192.092.4053%12796
5Hawaii Five-02.871.881.5251%7453
6Person of Interest2.771.871.9350%10272
7The Mentalist2.771.781.6256%7761
8The Crazy Ones2.701.721.8858%11292
9Blue Bloods2.671.781.4550%7150
10The Good Wife2.391.521.4858%7561

CBS' True TPF rankings are by far the least interesting, in part because the network is homogenous in 18-34 skew and in part because they've likely made all of their renewals already. Mom goes from slightly above marginal into more favorable territory, and The Crazy Ones also stacks up a bit higher, but CBS has long proven to judge comedies within their own realm and be pretty retentionista about it. If shows like Rob and Rules of Engagement could get cancelled with numbers that beat many of the second tier dramas (and may well have crushed them in TTPF), The Crazy Ones probably won't get any help from this.

Hostages' surprisingly high skew toward 18-34 actually inches it past Intelligence, which has been a somewhat stronger 18-49 player. But it still doesn't get it near the bubble conversation. And The Good Wife remains the ultimate Show That Can't Be Quantified. Fortunately, I've been at peace with this for a very long time now.

2Parks and Recreation2.971.521.2295%6284
5Growing Up Fisher2.601.581.7065%9486
6About a Boy2.591.572.0067%112105

With NBC, it starts to get interesting. On the comedy side: Voice lead-out About a Boy has literally double the 18-49 rating of Community, but it leads it by less than a tenth of a point in TTPF. Early-renewed Parks and Recreation, well behind these shows in raw 18-49, nearly ties them in True but goes way ahead after its favorable 18-34 is figured in. Hence the early renewal.

This is a classic double-whammy situation in which Community gets a huge bonus just from timeslot adjustments, airing in the low-viewed Thursday 8/7c half hour vs. Tuesday at 9/8c after The Voice. But it's still well behind the Tuesday duo in True. Then it gets a major assist from its heavy skew toward 18-34. Boy and Fisher, meanwhile, skew a little less toward 18-34 than the 71% league average.

It'd be tough for this to happen using just 18-49, but it's far from inconceivable that in these rankings, the Boy/Growing Up Fisher combo drop a bit more by season's end, putting them behind Community's number. This could be a part of why Community ends up beating out the second of these two shows for a renewal.

Dramas: There's another double-whammy situation in the Parenthood vs. Revolution race. Revolution has had a slightly higher 18-49 average, but Parenthood's slot grades tougher enough to put it narrowly ahead in True. Throw in the fact that Parenthood tends to do at least a tenth better in 18-34 raw numbers and there's some major separation here.

Crisis and Believe debuted at 18-49 ratings that might actually put them a bit above the bubble, but the bad news is there was a CBS-esque level of 18-34 interest. (They each had just a 0.8 A18-34 on their respective 1.6/1.5's from last Sunday.) Tack that onto their normal week two drops from last night and it looks rather dire for these shows.

1New Girl3.461.691.50107%91137
3Bob's Burgers3.001.461.68107%93140
4Brooklyn Nine-Nine2.851.461.3993%77102
5The Following2.841.711.5775%101106
6The Mindy Project2.771.321.30109%71109
7Almost Human2.731.641.6671%9696

The 18-34 effect is most strongly in play when you compare Fox's comedies vs. Fox's relatively average-skewing dramas. On an 18-49 basis, New Girl is about on par with The Following and Almost Human, but it shoots up into lock city once its 107% 18-34 skew is factored in. Shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Mindy Project, which appear to be well behind the Monday dramas in 18-49, inch past Almost Human in a TTPF comparison.

Perhaps the most useful thing that these rankings do is create the necessary separation between early-renewed The Mindy Project and almost-certainly-cancelled Dads, whose 18-49 True scores are virtually even.

While it also helps Glee, it still doesn't bring it up to what seems like a "bubble" kind of level. Maybe the 18-34 should be weighed more heavily in a Glee case, but I'd still much rather have Almost Human.

2America's Next Top Model1.080.490.42100%2231
3The Tomorrow People0.910.480.5290%3038
4The Carrie Diaries0.810.400.34106%1624
5Hart of Dixie0.720.400.4084%2024
7Beauty and the Beast0.670.340.3097%1521

This helps illustrate what I was trying to get at with my wacky theory from last month about how The Carrie Diaries could survive. It's had the same 18-34 numbers on Friday as Hart of Dixie on Monday, which I would argue makes it the stronger show. But I will say that I am somewhat wary about trusting the 34/49 ratio when the numbers are this small. Carrie goes above the 100% 34/49 threshold because it had a couple weeks with a 0.3 A18-49 and 0.4 A18-34, but those numbers could be virtually even before rounding (0.35/0.35). There's no reason to believe they are that way, I'm just trying to illustrate that rounding creates a wide range of possibilities with numbers this low.

Though the chaos-loving side of me was rooting for that theory to come to pass, this was not a good week for it. The Tomorrow People and Hart of Dixie held up well in their respective moves to Monday and Friday, and (probably more importantly) The 100 premiered strongly. So at least for this week, there are still several potentially better possibilities for the last renewal slot(s).


Spot said...

This is way too much complicated. It's as simple as look into average ratings, for example Fox:

A: none not-animated
A- : Sleepy Hollow (frontloaded 2.61), New Girl (2.3 W18-34)
B: The Mindy Project (2.0 W18-34), Glee (1.9 W18-34), Bones (1.80 with some aired at Friday)
C: Almost Human (1.78 sans Ep 1), The Following (1.68 sans Ep 1)
D: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (1.52)
D- : Dads (1.39, all aired before DST)
F: Rake (1.04), Enlisted (0.70), Raising Hope (0.68)

Spot said...

Great read spot.
I just have one request.
CBS' top two comedies are TBBT and HIMYM, and there is a pretty big gap between them, but as you talked about in your earlier post, HIMYM skews younger and more 18-34 than the rest of the network.

Spot said...

TBBT has a 5.46 True, 9.11 TTPF. (implying a 3.55 for the 18-34 half)

HIMYM has a 3.12 True, 6.06 TTPF. (implying a 2.94 for the 18-34 half)

HIMYM gets closer by percentage when using 18-34, but Big Bang is enormous enough that it still has a higher raw 18-34.

Spot said...

Thank you! HIMYM goes from averaging around 57% to 67%. That's still a huge gap for CBS comedy wise, which should just get worse starting April 14th

Spot said...

Overall observation: For some of these shows it demonstrates why they may get a shorter episode order for a new season or got less than a "full" season pick-up in past and potentially future years. There's value in them, but probably not enough that can be amortized over a whole season (The Carrie Diaries, Community, Hannibal). This is why I think the possibility exists that...

ABC: ...Nashville ends up going that route; it gets up there with a better 34/49 ratio, and could do even better if it had a more tonally compatible lead-in (hence my Bachelor/Nashville idea) but is it enough considering it's still ranked the lowest of the marginal dramas? Now that Paul Lee is reportedly safe for another season in charge, he may reach for Nashville like...

CBS: ...The Good Wife continues to make the Eye impersonate Stretch Armstrong for a renewal. The Crazy Ones continues to be the lowest-ranked comedy that, in theory, could still earn a second season even though almost every possible external ranking (ending its season early, being bumped to 9:30) is against it. Perhaps if it were younger-skewing a la HIMYM it could stand a chance but it drops in 18-34+ much like...

NBC: ...Growing Up Fisher, though TTPF points out why I think it may be renewed for a second season if About a Boy is picked up. They are essentially the same show minus the 0.3 separation in raw numbers, which may be the optic NBC eventually uses if they both fall in tandem and they only feel like they need one of the two. I still think NBC wants to be able to point at more than one sitcom whey they talk about the past two seasons, but that's a gut thing and not analytical. Meanwhile, Community continues to nip at both shows' heels for a 6th season unlike...

Fox: ...Glee, which already has that commitment in place. Glee is an example of where I think the gender breakdown in 18-34 is in effect; Fox already has a nice roster of shows that skew male (the Animation Domination block) while its female-slanted shows are pretty much New Girl and The Mindy Project. It also explains why Almost Human feels like a dead show: there's no obvious skew either way and Fox already has "two" dramas that fit that bill in Bones and Sleepy Hollow/The Following. Were it not for other external factors this analogy could hold up - Glee is to Almost Human as...

The CW: .. The Carrie Diaries is to Hart of Dixie. But, as Spot said, The CW is a network where rounding really distorts marginal-level shows. Even with rounding, though, I think there's a sense that TCD and HoD are essentially the same show which is why I wouldn't be surprised if there's a timeslot share between them next season. Also of note: there's an easy sense of what's a slam-duck (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Arrow, Supernatural), but at least unlike last season there's no real mega-bomb here or, at least, a schedule full of them (Emily Owens, MD; 90210; Cult). So that there's an actual race or two here based on actual merits instead of what's least-embarrassing is a big positive.

(This stream of consciousness-esque was not as stream-y as I tried to make it look, but I'm surprised I got it to work, period.)

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