Which TV Genres Gain the Biggest Ratings Bumps From Time-Shifting?

November 7, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Demographics & Audiences | Television | TV Audiences & Consumption | Youth & Gen X

Even with all the options available to view TV content, about 1 in 10 US adults still use their DVR as their default way to view shows. Indeed, data from Nielsen reveals that US adults spent 4 hours each week watching delayed or time-shifted content via VOD or DVR during the first quarter of this year.

Per Nielsen’s data, during the beginning of the 2018 television season (October 1 to December 30), all genres of programming saw a 10% lift in viewing beyond live or same-day out to 35 days, accounting for an average of 2.7 million additional viewers (ages 2+). With data from Hub Entertainment Research from last year finding that 61% of adults 18-34 years old choose to time-shift their viewing, it’s not surprising that Nielsen found that the lift was even higher (14%) for adults 18-49 years old, accounting for an average of 1.1 million additional viewers.

Some genres receive a more substantial lift in viewers from time-shifting than others. Primetime Drama received the greatest lift with an average ratings increase of 45% when factoring viewing out to 35 days. This matches up with previous data from Nielsen that found dramas like Better Call Saul (429.2% increase), The Sinner (352.1% increase) and American Horror Story (312.9% increase) benefited significantly last year from time-shifting.

Evening Animation also experienced a significant lift with both the total audience (36%) and 18-49-year-olds (43%). Although Sitcoms enjoyed a more modest lift of 23% overall, the average lift among core audiences (18-49-year-olds) was a significant 36%.

Sitcoms may not gain as much from time-shifting as Primetime Dramas or Evening Animation, but they’re certainly popular. A separate survey by TiVo found that Comedy was the most preferred form of content for viewers on video services such as Netflix and pay-TV.

For more on time-shifting and its impact on TV ratings, see Nielsen’s findings here.

About the Data: Findings are based on ratings (AA%) for all linear broadcast and cable programming from 10/1/18 to 12/30/18.

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