Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Fall 2015 SpotVault Upgrades

After another summer of upgrading the SpotVault, here's all the info, much of it new this year, that will be on each show's table this year. The first half of this will be a boring key describing what all the numbers mean. Much of this info is copied from previous versions of this post, though some of the later descriptions (especially the year-to-year numbers) might be worth a read. At the end, a quick update on the overhaul of pre-existing pages and what else is still to come.

As I said in this post last year, the ultimate vision here was to have one table with "raw" numbers and one that focuses more on my various mathematical experimentations. (This is also how the War of 18-49 is now set up.) We've fully arrived there now, though this may change a bit soon based on recent developments (see the bottom of this post). For now, here's what we've got:

Info Ratings Breakdowns Year-to-Year
# Day Date Time Length
1 We 10/1/2014 9:00 1:00 11.74 2.7 8
2.8 2.6
2 We 10/8/2014 9:00 1:00 10.57 2.3 7
2.3 2.3
3 We 10/15/2014 9:00 1:00 10.89 2.4 7
2.4 2.4
AVERAGES:Viewers A18-49 Lead
#y2y Ty2y
10.312.14 2.2 -3% -14% -4%

Info - These are common knowledge things; we have the episode number, the day of the week, the date, the start time and the episode length. For logistical reasons, I'll continue to round off "Time" and "Length" for minor overruns (like when a program runs to 10:02 rather than 10:00). Otherwise, those should be fairly self-explanatory.

Ratings - All these numbers are full program averages in Live+Same Day ratings.

Viewers - From Nielsen. The total number of viewers (age 2+, in millions) that watched the program. Though this number has a dubious correlation with renewability and advertising rates, it is the most easily accessible TV ratings number.

A18-49 - From Nielsen. Adults 18-49 rating. Percentage of US TV-owning adults 18-49 watching the program. This is the publicly available TV ratings currency that correlates best with renewals and ad rates, so I talk almost exclusively in 18-49 terms. For more on why I use this and not total viewers, I recommend the Intro to Nielsen Ratings.

Share - Adults 18-49 share. Percentage of TV-watching adults 18-49 in the USA that watched the program.

Breakdowns - These numbers break down the A18-49 rating by half-hour.

Lead - Adults 18-49 rating of the show's lead-in, or the rating of the previous program on the same network. These numbers refer to only the final half-hour of the lead-in program rather than the full rating, unless they're in italics (in which case they refer to the full rating of the lead-in program).
  • New this year, hover over any Lead number to see the name of the lead-in program.
  • Lead average - it's a pretty simple average of the lead-in rating for each episode. However, this gets tricky when a show has some episodes with (unknown) local programming lead-ins and some with known primetime lead-ins. So this produces an "n/a" unless at least two-thirds of the available episodes have a known primetime lead-in.
  • Brkdown average - This is the show's average growth or decline from its first half-hour to its last half-hour. This number uses the final available half-hour regardless of episode length.
Year-to-Year - These numbers compare the A18-49 rating with relevant metrics from the previous season, an import from the daily tables where we've been using these numbers for years. All of these are "raw" comparisons (simple comparisons of this year's A18-49 rating with last year's A18-49 rating), so the rate of average entertainment decline should be kept in mind as well.

#y2y - Percent difference between A18-49 and the show's episode of the same number last year. This column allows you to track how year-to-year trends are developing over the course of the season by comparing a show with that show's previous season. The only exception to the "same number" rule is season finales, which are always compared with each other regardless of number. Premiere and finale comparisons are in bold.
  • Hover over any #y2y number for an exact record of what the year-ago rating was and when it happened.
  • #y2y average - This is the familiar "y2y" metric seen in Vault tables past, comparing the season-to-date average with the average from last season through the same number of episodes. If the season is complete, it compares the full season vs. the previous full season regardless of number of episodes. 
Ty2y - Percent difference between A18-49 and the network's rating in the timeslot one year ago. This is a key component in networks' analysis of show performance, seeing how the show fares compared with previous occupants of the timeslot. It's most interesting with new shows, and still fairly interesting with returning shows that got moved.
  • Hover over any Ty2y number to see the name of the previous timeslot occupant(s).
  • Ty2y numbers are in italics if the year-ago half-hour breakdowns are not available, meaning the year-ago numbers are using full program ratings possibly to represent only one segment of a program.
  • Ty2y average - This averages all the Ty2y numbers to see how the show has done on average vs. year-ago occupants. An unfortunate downside to this number as it currently exists is that most seasons will air at least a few episodes vs. year-ago repeats or filler episodes. I thought about coming up with an alternative version of this that weeds out year-ago repeats or something like that, but it was too complicated to squeeze in before summer's end, and it probably won't be changed for quite awhile since we're well into the previous seasons overhaul. As such, it's probably good to keep in mind that these numbers are usually at least a little bit higher than they "should" be. Still, it should be a useful tool for broad strokes purposes.

And finally, a quick update on the incorporation of these new Vault tables.

Previous Seasons Overhaul. I always try to under-promise and over-deliver here, so in retrospect it was probably not a great decision to proclaim a few weeks ago that I was going to update every single page in the history of the Vault by premiere week. It turns out that updating 1500 pages, even if it's simple copy-pasting, is quite an undertaking!

I did get about halfway there, updating pretty much all of the existing broadcast pages from 2001-02 through 2011-12 with the new layout explained above. I really wanted to get the older pages done because those seasons have the most added value from the new layout (including a lot of raw numbers that were not in my archive when I last updated them). And I will start adding this layout to some of the most recent (2014-15) pages as I start creating the Vault for the new season.

Beyond that, it's probably going to be awhile before this gets all the way finished. I'm not in a particular hurry to get to the 2012-13 and 2013-14 broadcast pages since it would mean deleting old versions of the True formula, but it's probably going to happen at some point. So if you really want those obsolete True numbers from 2012-13 and 2013-14 for some reason, I'd recommend copying them into a separate document before December or so.

New SpotVault Pages. The new 2015-16 pages with the above layout will start showing up as of tomorrow morning (September 23), with new fall and some straggling late summer stuff.

The Timeslot Stats Table. For the second straight year, there will be a bit of a delay getting the second half of the SpotVault (the table with more detail on the True formula) into the mix. Not sure it was gonna be ready for premiere week anyway, as the new True and season projection formulas aren't quite firmed up yet. But I have some added incentive to wait on this because I'm sadly unsure if I'm gonna be getting half-hour breakdowns anymore. I haven't gotten my sheet with breakdowns for the last few weeks, and I'm really hoping it's just some late-summer slacking and they'll start coming again for the fall. (If anyone gets these and wants to be extremely generous in passing them over on a regular basis, let me know!) But if no breakdowns is gonna be the reality going forward, I'm probably gonna rethink how the main table and the secondary table for 2015-16 pages are arranged somewhat.

Anyway, hopefully this part won't take as long to appear as last year, but it's definitely gonna be another week at the bare minimum. Thanks for your understanding!

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