The advent of DVR technology and online viewing has changed how we watch television, but the ratings system is only just catching up.
In the past, Live+Same day Nielsen ratings, which dictate a shows success, ruled what shows were successful enough to stay in the air. Times though, they are a changing. People are not watching live television like they were as little as ten years ago. Digital Video recording (DVR) has given viewers the freedom to catch their favorite shows on their own terms, and that has affected the potential for some shows fates.
FX has taken note and is leading the charge into the future of calculating television ratings. By taking a few more days, and using the “Live+3″ rating scale, they insure that more DVR watchers are counted as well, giving shows the scores they deserve. This means they would wait a little longer to judge a show’s performance. For instance, is the show airs Sunday night, rather than judge it on the numbers from Monday morning, they would wait till Thursday morning and include those who watched it late.
FX’s John Solberg:
“With the exception of sports, news and live events, Live+Same Day ratings no longer accurately reflect the audience delivery for a scripted entertainment program, we believe they grossly mis-characterize the actual audience due to the multiple data streams and platforms. Therefore, our first acknowledgement of any ratings will be on a Live+3 basis and beyond.”
While it may take time for other networks to jump on board, the change could make a difference in whether or not shows stay on the air. In example, the Showtime series Homeland only gets 32% of its more than 7 million viewers watching live. With low ratings like that a show could easily be canceled and replaced, while waiting for DVR ratings gives a more accurate picture of how well a show is doing.
According to Variety, Guillermo del Toro’s vampire-virus drama The Strain, averaged a 1.91 rating in adults 18-49 (2.43 million viewers) and 4.73 million total viewers in “Live + 3″ ratings, rising 64% in demo rating (from 1.18) and 58% in total viewers (from 2.99 million) from its “Live plus same-day” averages.
With FX publicly calling out the legitimacy of the same day ratings, the future could be very different for shows currently on the air. What do you think of the ratings system? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on GEEKs Facebook page.
Images: FX Network