This Fall’s Real TV Winner: The DVR


Some broadcast shows are getting as many DVR viewers as live

By Toni Fitzgerald,

December 16, 2014

CBS's 'Elementary' is seeing a bigger percentage gain from DVR playback than any other show on broadcast.

CBS’s ‘Elementary’ is seeing a bigger percentage gain from DVR playback than any other show on broadcast.

We have finally reached the point where just as many people are time-shifting a broadcast show as watching it live.

Actually, make that several shows.

Season to date, CBS’s “Elementary” is averaging a 1.1 adults 18-49 Nielsen rating in live-plus-same-day DVR playback. It’s also averaging a 1.1 in seven-day DVR playback.

That means its rating is doubling, from a 1.1 for L+SD to a 2.2 for L+7, when DVR viewership is added in.

It is the first broadcast show to see a 100 percent gain from L+SD to L+7 for more than a few weeks, but it certainly will not be the last.

During the week ended Nov. 30, two other programs, ABC’s “Revenge” and NBC’s “Grimm,” both doubled their ratings from L+SD to L+7, too.

For the season they are averaging boosts of 83 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

DVR usage has been growing for some time, of course, but it has become rampant this season.

Twenty-one broadcast shows are seeing L+7 gains of 70 percent or more, compared to 12 shows last season. Seven are seeing gains of 80 percent or above, compared to three last season.

And the average program is gaining 47 percent from L+7, compared to 40 percent last season.

The significance of this is for advertisers, of course, is that many more commercials are being time-delayed or zapped altogether when people time-shift their TV shows.

This should add yet more fuel to the broadcast networks’ annual call to sell ad time based on C7 ratings (L+7 commercial ratings) rather than C3 (live-plus-three-day-DVR playback commercial ratings).

Last spring all of the networks reached some deals using C7, but it was not the widespread adoption that the broadcasters had pushed for.

Media people have been staunchly against switching to C7, arguing that many ads lose their value when they are seen that long after originally airing. Buyers do not want to pay for reaching people with an advertising message that is no longer relevant.


Viewers 18-49Season to date
Rank Program Net Live+SD Rating Live+7 Rating Contribution Percent Increase
1 ELEMENTARY CBS 1.1 2.2 1.1 100%
2 PARENTHOOD NBC 1.2 2.3 1.1 92%
3 VAMPIRE DIARIES CW 0.8 1.5 0.7 88%
4 REVENGE ABC 1.2 2.2 1.0 83%
5 ORIGINALS CW 0.6 1.1 0.5 83%
6 CONSTANTINE NBC 1.0 1.8 0.8 80%
7 HUNDRED, THE CW 0.5 0.9 0.4 80%
8 NEW GIRL FOX 1.3 2.3 1.0 77%
9 GRIMM NBC 1.3 2.3 1.0 77%
10 MARVEL AGENTS S.H.I.E.L.D ABC 1.7 3.0 1.3 76%
Source: ABC Networks, based on data from Nielsen Media Research


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here