Program loyalty is not significantly affected by time-shifted viewing, according to a new analysis of live and recorded viewing behaviors for a national audience. Most viewers of a program still only watch one episode during a given season, and hence remain excellent targets of promotion.
Several months ago we examined program loyalty for live viewing within a specific geographic region and observed that less than half of a show's viewers during a season, on average, will watch more than one episode of the show. Even American Idol, with its famously loyal fan base, has over a third of its ratings driven by viewers who will only watch one episode during the season. We concluded that these one-time viewers would be ideal targets for promotion.
The findings are similar when time-shifted viewing is incorporated into the analysis. Program loyalty, defined here as the percentage of a show's viewers who watch at least two episodes during the season, is not affected much by time-shifted viewing. Some viewers move from the non-loyal to the loyal crowd when DVR data is counted, but there are other viewers excluded from the original analysis who suddenly become part of the non-loyal crowd in the new analysis. All in all, a show's loyalty score is basically the same whether we include or exclude DVR data.
The graph below shows Average Tune-in plotted against Loyalty for a select group of programs. For each show, the blue dot represents live-only viewing, and the orange triangle represents live plus time-shifted viewing. Note that the orange triangles are always higher than the blue dots, since including the DVR data will always lead to higher tune-in. In terms of program loyalty, however, there is not a consistent trend whereby incorporating DVR data will always increase or always decrease the amount of loyalty to a show. As before, slightly less than 50% of a show's viewers, on average, watched at least two episodes of a show during the season. American Idol once again has the most loyal fans, with around two-thirds of viewers watching at least two episodes this season. Rescue Me again has the least loyal following.
Note: Data from TNS Media Research’s DirecTView. Time period: All 2009 episodes of the show’s current season or most recently completed season. DVR viewing tracked for seven days following the original airing of each episode.
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