Best-Performing TV Shows? Look To Ad Revs, Not Ratings

It’s long been known that creativity isn’t necessarily grounds for a TV show’s success. We’ve all known that the key to staying on the air is ratings.

Except – it’s starting to look like ratings no longer tell the story. Enter a more specific analytic: Ad revenues, boys and girls. Here’s what we mean:


by Wayne Friedman

TV networks would love for business reporters to stop writing about TV ratings — especially stories that only look at next-day ratings.

Networks all want media executives to consider viewership totals that include not just one overnight airing — but three, seven, 30 days, as well as digital and SVOD airings. All that can get — what else? — a bigger number.

But I’ll go them one better. We should speak to a metric everyone can understand: dollars and cents. (Yes, “sense” as well.)

What were the best TV programs on Monday?  Those shows that pulled in the most revenue: specifically, advertising revenue. (We’ll leave other revenue associated with TV shows aside for the moment).

This Monday, July 13, Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance?” took in the most: $8.37 million. ABC’s “The Bachelorette” was next, with $8.30 million; NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” was in third place, at $5.83 million, according to iSpot.TV.

Other good performers with original content: NBC’s “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” with $3.13 million, while ABC’s “The Whispers” took in $2.5 million.

CBS had all repeats: “Scorpion” was at $1.3 million; “Mike & Molly,” $1.3 million as well; “NCIS: Los Angeles,” $1.14 million; and “2 Broke Girls,” $1.02 million.

I know what you’re thinking: Why is iSpot.TV’s estimated research efforts better than Nielsen’s national panel of 25,000 TV homes?

Well, all things being equal (maybe less than equal for some industry watchers), we need to shift our gaze, and consider outside-the-box metrics for a clearer view of how TV shows are performing.

Read it all at Media Post