Simulmedia: Does DVR Viewing Affect Program Loyalty? - Stewart Hauser - MediaBizBloggers

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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 Idolonce again has the most loyal fans, with around two-thirds of viewers watching at least two episodes this season. Rescue Meagain 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.

Stewart can be reached at

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