Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A18-49+ Update: Originals vs. Repeats, Comedies vs. Dramas in 2014-15


Here's a look at the different types of programming in 2014-15. This post will combine the broad programming categories (originals, repeats, sports, specials, movies) as well as the sub-categories within the original series realm (comedies, dramas, reality, news).

Big Four Category Ratings

Year Overall Originals Reruns Movies Sports Specials
2001-02 98 100 81 76 152 100
2002-03 93 100 75 64 132 86
2003-04 94 100 75 66 159 90
2004-05 93 100 69 63 154 80
2005-06 92 100 65 54 146 80
2006-07 90 100 60 52 136 84
2007-08 90 100 55 53 152 80
2008-09 92 100 53 52 162 71
2009-10 95 100 50 47 193 101
2010-11 93 100 51 47 192 98
2011-12 97 100 50 45 223 101
2012-13 98 100 49 47 227 100
2013-14 103 100 47 49 250 113
2014-15 102 100 47 50 254 118

All the categories were even or up compared to the rate of original decline, but overall ratings still dropped a tick more than the originals league average. This is because the two strongest categories (sports and specials) were also down in real estate.

Big Four Category Real Estate

Year Originals Reruns Movies Sports Specials
2001-02 58% 13% 14% 8% 7%
2002-03 63% 14% 13% 6% 5%
2003-04 61% 19% 11% 5% 4%
2004-05 63% 19% 8% 6% 5%
2005-06 62% 20% 8% 7% 3%
2006-07 63% 23% 5% 6% 3%
2007-08 61% 23% 5% 7% 3%
2008-09 65% 19% 4% 6% 6%
2009-10 62% 22% 4% 8% 4%
2010-11 64% 21% 4% 6% 4%
2011-12 66% 20% 2% 7% 4%
2012-13 64% 21% 2% 8% 5%
2013-14 62% 20% 2% 9% 6%
2014-15 66% 18% 3% 8% 6%

Despite the talk of timeslot sharing, there hasn't really been a significant upturn in original volume across the regular season since the start of the era. But was 2014-15 the beginning of that finally happening? The season didn't quite set a new high for original volume, as it was ever-so-slightly behind 2011-12 (65.7% to 66%). But this was still right at the high end historically, and it's noteworthy that ABC and CBS became the first and second networks in the whole 14-year era to program 70% originals. If not for Fox actually swinging in the other direction and programming one of its lightest original slates in the era (61%), this may have been a new record.

The decline in repeat volume was even more significant, as this was the outright lowest percentage of series repeats since 2002-03. And the 2002-03 numbers aren't apples-to-apples, since so much of that filler real estate was devoted to movies back then. If repeats/movies are combined into a single "cheap filler" category, it'd be the lowest total for that category in the era.

Big Four Original Sub-Category Ratings

Year DramaSitcom Reality News
2001-021041229869
2002-039711612264
2003-049610114166
2004-051138311661
2005-061117711861
2006-071078411161
2007-081019711163
2008-0910010211662
2009-109910111761
2010-119411012161
2011-129411711559
2012-139410312065
2013-149410211871
2014-159510712070

Once again, the individual categories almost all went up, yet still average out to 100 because the two below-average categories (dramas and news) increased drastically in real estate.
 

Big Four Original Sub-Category Real Estate

Year DramaSitcom Reality News
2001-0244%21%17%19%
2002-0343%19%21%18%
2003-0441%20%20%19%
2004-0541%16%26%17%
2005-0645%16%24%14%
2006-0748%11%29%12%
2007-0840%9%38%12%
2008-0949%11%28%12%
2009-1045%13%30%12%
2010-1143%14%30%13%
2011-1241%16%30%12%
2012-1340%19%29%12%
2013-1444%20%27%9%
2014-1550%15%24%11%

The explosion of multiple veteran comedies in 2011-12 caused the sitcom volume to return to early aughts levels for a couple years. But some disappointing development since then means we seem to be past those days, as the 15% sitcoms was a drastic and sudden step downward. Fox killed a comedy hour (Tuesday 8/7c), CBS killed a comedy hour (Monday 9/8c), and NBC aired just one hour on its vaunted Thursday night (and not even for the full season). Another notable here is the somewhat drastic decline in unscripted programming over the last couple years. Part of this is the cancellation of The X Factor and reduced real estate for stuff like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and The Biggest Loser, and another part is that it seems like very little new unscripted product is getting tried in the regular season these days.

The winner, then, was dramas. Half of the original non-sports series real estate in 2014-15 went to dramas, a new record for the A18-49+ era. The form doesn't seem as healthy as it did the last time the networks went drama-crazy in the late aughts, but it seems drama is the way the development wind has been blowing in the last couple years.

Here's the now updated A18-49+ programming categories post.

Here's the now updated A18-49+ original sub-categories post.

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