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Tensor

Season 6 Ratings Wrap Up.

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The Big Bang Theory (TBBT) rating’s have been quite impressive this year. This is going to be the first of three articles detailing their ratings this year. This week, I plan to cover the Live + Same Day (SD) ratings. As there are several different terms used that many people may not be familiar with, I will go over each of the terms to describe what they mean and how the numbers for those terms are determined.

To begin, The Nielsen company gathers data from electronic boxes that are attached to the television, set top box, or DVR. These are the “People Meters” Individuals enter their specific ID (which is tied to their age and gender) and the box tracks what they are watching, even if they are just channel surfing. In the case of DVRs, it measures what has been recorded and watched up to seven days later.

People with their ID number sign in and out, each time they start or stop watching TV. In the case of multiple people watching the same TV, the ID allows the meter to track how many and when people are watching. The meter could track someone who turns the TV on, and if another person signs in, shows two people watching the same program. If the original person leaves by signing out, it will still be tracking what the other person is now watching.

Nielsen also uses the older diary method (where people write in what they are watching) to gather further demographic data to assist advertisers in targeting specific ages, genders, income, eduction, etc). Each August, Nielsen estimates the number of households in the US that have televisions to use during the season. The current number of households, from August of 2012, is 114,200,000. Note, this is not how many households are tracked by Nielsen. Just the total number, so the specific breakdown of those that are part of the Nielsen ratings can be extrapolated to the total number of households.

What follows, are the various terms used in these articles

Live + Same Day (SD): The number of households (and viewers) that watched a program, including DVR viewing until 3 a.m. locally, the next day. At 3 a.m., the data is automatically sent to Nielsen from the box.

Live + 3: The number of households (and viewers) that watch a program up to three days after the program airs. Again, there is a 3 a.m. cutoff.

Live + 7: The number of households (and viewers) that watch a program up to seven days after the program airs. With the 3AM cutoff.

Overnights are announced the next day. Live + 7 is published two weeks after the end of week being measured. Live +3 is what is currently used to set advertising rates. While the Live + SD and Live + 7 are readily available, the Live + 3 are closely held by Nielsen (which makes sense, that’s how they make their money). So, Live + 3 are usually found through a press release from a network or show.

Overnights (or Fast Nationals) Are the preliminary ratings based on 56 metropolitan areas and is time-period based.

Final Ratings: Adjusted (usually based on data included from other than the overnight areas, along with time zone specific data or local preemptions.

Ratings Point: The percentage of TV household, out of all TV households, that are watching a particular program.

Ratings Share: The percentage of households, who have their TV on, that are watching a particular program.

Note that a Ratings point is one percent total households with a TV. Ratings Share point is one percent of the total households with a TV ON. For a simplified example, lets say the total number of TVs is 100 and there are 50 of them on. If 10 TVs are tuned to a specific program, the ratings point would be 10 (10 is 10% of 100). The ratings share would be 20 (10 is 20% of 50).

Total Viewers: The total number of people watching a particular program. More than one person could be viewing a program in one house, say a family of four.

Demo: This is an age breakout of the Ratings points and shares. To advertisers, the most important demo is made up of those people age 18-49. Whenever demo is used, it means 18-49, unless otherwise specified. There are other breakouts, 18-34, 25-54, etc. This allows advertisers to target ads to age specific populations.



Now that you have a reference, lets look at the Live + SD numbers for TBBT for the 2012-2013 TV season. (Please remember that these are the Live + SD, there are other numbers floating around out there and I’ll get to them in the upcoming articles.)

The season can be roughly divided into four periods, with their viewers and demo:
A.) Before Daylight Savings Time (DST) ended (6 episodes).......15.40 million....4.9.
B.) From DST ending to the new year (5 episodes)......................17.05 million....5.4.
C.) The new year to DST beginning (7 episodes).........................18.40 million....5.8
D.) After the beginning of DST (6 episodes).................................16.04 million....4.9

For the year, the show averaged 16.65 Million viewers with a 5.3 demo.

To put these in perspective, in terms of viewers, TBBT averages more viewers on broadcast day, then all but four shows have after including seven days worth of DVR viewing. The closest half hour comedy is Two and a Half Men with 13.8 million and that is the #11 show in Live + 7 data.

In terms of the demo, TBBT was the highest rated scripted or “reality” show, the only show beating it was Sunday Night Football (To simplify things, references after this are for scripted/reality shows and ignores the Football ratings). TBBT same day ratings were higher than all show’s demo after including seven days of DVR viewing.

The highest show, after TBBT, in Live + 7 was The Voice, with a 5.2. The next highest Live + 7 half hour comedy was Modern Family, with a 4.9. Remember, these include seven days worth of viewing after broadcast. TBBT numbers are for the day of broadcast.   

(Edited correction.  I entered the numbers manually to get the final Live + 7 as the final hadn't been released yet.   Evidently, I made an error in entering the numbers.  The finals were released today and Modern Family's Live + 7 was 6.4, beating TBBT Live + SD.  Sorry, for any problems this may have caused. 

Before this season, the most viewed episode was “The Friendship Contraction” in season five, with 16.54 million viewers. TBBT broke their record for most viewed program four times during the season. On November 8, there were 16.68 million. A week later, there were 17.63 million. On January 3, the viewers jumped to 19.25 million and finally, a week later TBBT hit 20.00 million same day viewers. Becoming the first half hour comedy to hit 20 million with a non-special episode (After Superbowl specials or like the case of Two and a Half Men, the premiere following the Charlie Sheen mess are special episodes) since “Everybody Loves Raymond in 2005.

While the show set a record for viewers four times, the show beat the previous season’s high, 13 times this year. It was also the only scripted show to break a 6.0 in the demo for the Live + SD, and it did it three times, hitting a high of 6.4.


Another interesting point it that this is the first year that TBBT had higher ratings and more viewers at the end of the year, than during the beginning. During daylight savings time, shows (especially those that air at 8:00), tend to lose viewers because with more daylight, and better weather, people are out, instead of staying in and watching TV. For the A period (see above), the average viewers were ~15,25 Million. Previous years, this would be higher than the D period. However, this year, the D period average almost 1 million more viewers although the demo ratings were about the same.

Well, that’s it for this article. We’ll have some more coming up on syndication, Live + 7 and some other, what I hope are interesting tidbits.

Feel free to ask questions in the thread, and I’ll answer to the best of my ability, tell you I have to research it, or if I simply don’t have an answer. Constructive criticism, other than questions, are also welcome.

Tensor/Rick K

Edited by Tensor
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Tensor, Thanks for your efforts. My question is how does S6 compare with the other 5 seasons. If S6 came in higher than the other 5 seasons, as I suspect it did, is this significant when comparing with how other sitcoms have performed over the years.  In my totally unskilled view, it must be a rarity for ratings to improve in a sixth season.

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One of the next articles will deal with comparison to previous seasons and other past shows, among other things. As you can see, this ( and the ones to follow) are a bit long. I am doing three to try to balance them out.

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So the record breaking episodes were:

 

The Habitation Configuration  (Hmmm)

 

The 43 Peculiarity (oh yeah)

 

The Parking Spot Escalation

 

The Bakersfield Expedition

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So the record breaking episodes were:

 

The Habitation Configuration  (Hmmm)

 

The 43 Peculiarity (oh yeah)

 

The Parking Spot Escalation

 

The Bakersfield Expedition

Actually, the January 3rd episode was "The Egg Salad Equivalency" , not "The Parking Lot Escalation".

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Tensor,

 

I was about to post the same info on The Egg Salad Equivalency ..... was checking the ratings again to make sure I remember correctly.

Edited by ArmyGirl

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It's a bit easier for me, I've got all ratings stuff printed out, saved, and bookmarked. This is due to the articles I'm writing. I just have to see a post. :)

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Actually I have to say that I hated The Egg Salad Equivalency, and did indeed loooove The Parking Spot Escalation.....

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It still makes me question if the super high ratings encouraged TPTB to change the game plan and that is why the second half of the season was so meh.

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It still makes me question if the super high ratings encouraged TPTB to change the game plan and that is why the second half of the season was so meh.

While I don't think the last half was Meh, I do think the second half was weaker. Although some stories were pretty much set(Leonard and Penny for example), I do wonder if the specifics of those stores were written with an eye to the ratings.

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While I don't think the last half was Meh, I do think the second half was weaker. Although some stories were pretty much set(Leonard and Penny for example), I do wonder if the specifics of those stores were written with an eye to the ratings.

 

 

Well when an article states that we were supposed to believe that Raj was in love with Lucy I give their effort a big ole meh but I am happy to agree to disagree.  I can't prove anything but IMO they saw the ratings and decided to hit the brakes on visible character development and stretch it out for the 10 seasons it will probably go now.   A lot of what I saw, especially in the second half was lip service development.  Penny's epiphany, for instance, will probably never translate on the screen.

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While I don't think the last half was Meh, I do think the second half was weaker. Although some stories were pretty much set(Leonard and Penny for example), I do wonder if the specifics of those stores were written with an eye to the ratings.

 

I haven't felt that way--I think that they were telling the stories they wanted to tell.  I do think that they save certain storylines for Sweeps periods, but I don't think that's the same as writing according to ratings points, or audience reactions.  I think that if that were the case, L&P would be married and S&A would have been in the sack already.

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While I don't think the last half was Meh, I do think the second half was weaker. Although some stories were pretty much set(Leonard and Penny for example), I do wonder if the specifics of those stores were written with an eye to the ratings.

 

Agreed. They did some major rebuild work in the first half of the season on Penny which effected Leonard and they were pretty much finished by "Bakersfield". There was some working on Sheldon to prove that he was not going to be quickly changing because of Amy. They settled the Howard/Bernadette living arrangement issue in the first half as well.  They seemed to have been very pleased by the results, especially in the ratings feedback, and they went into consolidation mode after that, letting the changes settle in.

 

That's my thought. The second half of the season was about doing no harm to the changes.

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Agreed. They did some major rebuild work in the first half of the season on Penny which effected Leonard and they were pretty much finished by "Bakersfield". There was some working on Sheldon to prove that he was not going to be quickly changing because of Amy. They settled the Howard/Bernadette living arrangement issue in the first half as well.  They seemed to have been very pleased by the results, especially in the ratings feedback, and they went into consolidation mode after that, letting the changes settle in.

 

That's my thought. The second half of the season was about doing no harm to the changes.

 

 

I think we are more or less saying the same thing you are just putting a nicer spin on it.  :)

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I think we are more or less saying the same thing you are just putting a nicer spin on it.  :)

Guilty as charged. I was trying to reword my agreement of your conclusion in a nicer way. :icon_wink:

 

I agree with phantagrae in that they decided to tell certain stories they wanted to tell in the second half.  I just think the stories were there to slow down the rate of change from the dizzy pace of the first half. If they had carried on at the same rate, as the first half, they would be at places with S/A, L/P and H/B, that they would want to save for season 7 and 8.

Edited by BangerMain

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I think we are more or less saying the same thing you are just putting a nicer spin on it.  :)

I kinda saw our comments as a difference in degree.

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I kinda saw our comments as a difference in degree.

 

 

I agree.  Since it is just a TV show I really never feel the need to sugar coat my comments/feelings.  One of my favorite episodes of the season was in the second half though... Closet.   I need to take some time to look back over the season but it may be in my top 3.  It makes me wonder we couldn't have had that quality more often.  It was fresh, it had new ideas, and some new humor.  For instance, I don't think we have ever seen Sheldon supply the winning argument against himself before. 

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This is the second article dealing with The Big Bang Theory's(TBBT) ratings for the 2012-2013 season. Syndication wise, this year was very successful for TBBT. It’s consistently finished either #1 or #2 in households, but was invariably #1 with total viewers. This year, there was a definite separation of the shows. There were the top 3, TBBT, Judge Judy (JJ) and Wheel of Fortune (WF). Those shows always (except for JJ, once) finished above a 6.0 for households and above 9 Million (again, except for JJ, twice) total viewers. Among all other shows, the closest was Jeopardy, which would hit 6.0 with over 9 Million viewers occasionally

Before I start, I want to apologize as I do not have the entire year. I am missing from November 15 back to the beginning of the season, basically the first eight weeks of the season, for the numbers in this article. I intend to go back and dig up those eight weeks and add them to the the calculations here. It may take a week or two (or longer as I’m leaving on vacation in four days), but the update will be done. That being said, the rest of the year is more than representative of the three shows. Number wise, those missing weeks will have lower households and lower total viewers, much like the end of the year (May-Jun).

That said, lets review what we mean by households and total viewers. In the US, the Nielsen company sets the number of households that have at lest one television set (through various estimates of the number of televisions) for each season. That number, for 2012-2013 season is 114,200,000. That means, each ratings point for a household is ~1.14 million households.

Total viewers is simply the total number of people who are watching the show. It can get more involved if there is a household with more than one television, and those televisions are tuned to different shows. To make things a bit easier for all of you, here are the approximate number of households for ratings point:

6 = ~ 6.84 million households

7 = ~ 7.98 million households

8 = ~ 9.12 million households

Now, there is no overall final report for syndication (as of yet, as syndication runs just about all year. So, all the following averages are what you get by adding up each week and dividing by 27 (the number of weeks I have data for). Here are the numbers:

TBBT for the season averaged a 7.2 rating. Second, in households, was JJ with a 7.1 and third was WF with a 7.0. In terms of total viewers, TBBT led with ~11.4 million viewers, WF was second with 10.6 and JJ was third with 9.8. Note that JJ had more households, but fewer viewers. That simply means that WF had more people in each household. On average, TBBT had ~1.6 people per household, WF had ~1.5 and JJ had ~1.4.

Other interesting numbers show TBBT had 8 weeks (all consecutive during Jan-Feb) with over 12 million viewers per week. WF had 5 weeks (scattered through Dec., Jan., and Feb. JJ never got to 12 million viewers for a week. JJ was the only top three show to drop below 9 million viewers.

In household numbers, TBBT was the only regular scheduled syndicated show to post a household rating of 8 or higher. It did this twice, with a 8.0 and a 8.1. It was the only show to have less than 10 shows with a household rating under 7. It had eight of them, 5 of those were the May and June shows.

TBS thinks very highly of TBBT. It is the lead in to Conan three of the four nights of the week (The Family Guy block on Monday is the only exception). It also launches new shows in the 10:00 PM (Eastern), time slot on Thursdays, having TBBT back at 10:30 PM. Since moving TBBT to the Conan lead in, Conan’s ratings have risen over 15%. All the various shows that have launched in the 10:00PM slot between TBBT episodes, are still on.

In a fluky sort of way, there were nights where the syndicated reruns of TBBT, on TBS were scoring higher than over half of the new broadcasts of network shows.

As a final bit, there are three different ratings for TBBT syndication. The TBS showing during the week. Then there is Syndication A (for Saturday night) and Syndication B (for Sunday night). Over the year, those last two generally finished #5 and #6 (Jeopardy is the show between the top three and the two weekend TBBT showings). The Sunday show averaged ~5.4 household and ~8 million viewers. The Saturday night show, averaged ~4.8 and 7 million viewers.

Again, feel free to comment in the forum, and I’ll answer any questions I can.

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Well, things didn't quite work out the way I planned. :) I was planning on having three articles dealing with the aspects of The Big Bang Theory end-of-year ratings. But, life intervened and it took me longer to find the syndicated ratings along with some of the Live + 7 data. As a result, here is a quick update of the syndicated ratings:

As promised, I’ve gone back and found the numbers I didn’t have for the I’ve been helped with this with the final syndicated ratings, which provided some other ratings data, other than households and total viewers. For those who didn’t see the definitions for the various terms (households, ratings point, demo), those can be found in the first article

In the original article, The Big Bang Theory (TBBT) had a season averaged a 7.2 rating. Second, in households, was Judge Judy (JJ) with a 7.1 and third was Wheel of Fortune (WF) with a 7.0. Now, remember, these were the numbers, which were missing the first eight weeks of the season.

The final Household ratings numbers were TBBT at 7.2, WF at 7.0, and JJ at 6.9. The change in the numbers for total viewers was not significant. TBBT was the #1 syndicated program for the year. The household numbers for TBBT and WF didn’t change with the inclusion of those eight weeks (Plus two weeks of data that I didn’t have for the end of the season. JJ, however, dropped three tenths of a ratings point. Early in the year, JJ rating were much lower than they became later, explaining the drop by adding those early weeks.

Something I didn’t have for the last article was the 18-49 demo split. TBBT was the number one syndicated program, pulling in an average weekly demo of 4.1. The closest syndicated program after TBBT was “Family Guy” (FG), which were pulling in a 2.5. To give you some perspective, there are only two prime-time first run scripted series that had a higher average (for Live + SD) than the syndicated TBBT 4.1 demo. TBBT on Thursdays had a 5.4 and Modern Family on Wednesday had a 4.4.

One final note, and it’s a big one. The Big Bang Theory will perform the rare feat of having the #1 non-sports show in primetime, and the #1 non-sports show in syndication, within the 18-49 demo. I’ve been looking, but I can’t seem to find another example of this happening. This is not to say it hasn’t. Anything before 2000 can be tough to get the data for (unless you subscribe to Nielsen), and I’m having trouble finding the numbers.

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Well, now that the vacation is over, I had a chance to catch up on the final ratings article. Then however, my computer died, but I’ve got a borrowed computer, so let’s finish up the season end wrap up.

The which covered some about how ratings work and the Live + Same day ratings. The which covered syndication ratings. The final one here, will cover the Live + 7 Day ratings. Which inlcudes all DVR viewing for the seven days after the show airs. I will note here that I’m ignoring Sunday Night Football which was #1 in both viewers and demo rating, with 21.4 million viewers and a 8.2 demo. I’m concentrating on the entertainment shows.

To start with, The official numbers for TBBT are the following. In total viewers, on broadcast television, it had an average of 18.7 million people, with an 6.2 demo. In total viewers, it was #2 and in demo it was the #1 broadcast show. Those numbers are based on 30 telecasts. If you wondering why 30 when only 24 new shows were produced, it’s because CBS ran TBBT 30 times in it’s time slot (8 PM Thrusdays). They also ran it several times on Monday night, but those don’t count for ratings, as they are not at the scheduled time. TBBT was the only half hour series to finish in the top 10 in both total viewers and demo (Modern Family finished at #5 in the demo, but was only 18th in total viewers.)

This is the first year that they have used the Live + 7 as the “official” data. However, as I pointed out, they also use repeats in the computations. Here are the numbers for new episodes only. In total viewers, TBBT averaged 21.04 million viewers a week. The only other series to average over 20 million was NCIS, with 24 million. In terms of demo, TBBT averaged 7.24 rating. TBBT added 2.0 in the demo and 4.25 million viewers with DVR viewers. It was the only show that average adding over four million viewers.

It’s interesting to see that, for new shows, TBBT DVR ONLY viewers were higher than the total viewers for 75 shows this year and in terms of demo, it was higher than 124 shows this year. TBBT DVR viewers, taken as a separate show, would have finished in 112 place in viewers, and 77 place, in demo. The higher rating in demo means that TBBT has more younger viewers than most other shows.

It should be pointed out, that TBBT is the highest rated demo among Scripted, Broadcast shows. Note the qualifiers. Mentioned previously, were the numbers for Sunday Night Football. Interestingly, it only beat NCIS in total viewers by about 100,000 viewers. NCIS ran 26 episodes, so it’s total viewers were pulled down by the two reruns. Football's +7 viewer and demo increases are negligible, and there are no repeats to drag down the numbers. NCIS had the most viewers among scripted shows and had the most viewers total when considering new shows only, beating out Sunday Night Football.

Another reason for the qualifiers, is that “The Walking Dead” on AMC had a demo of 7.5 for the year, making it the highest rated scripted show, in demo. Remember, demo means the 18-49 age group.

TBBT was the only scripted show that appeared in the top 10 in both viewers and demo. It was #1 in demo and #2 in viewers. If non sports shows are considered, American Idol and The Voice were both in the top 10, but in seventh through tenth places.

Now for some other notes of interest. In the first article, I broke down the season into four periods.

The season can be roughly divided into four periods, with their viewers and demo:


A.) Before Daylight Savings Time (DST) ended (6 episodes).......15.40 million....4.9


B.) From DST ending to the new year (5 episodes)......................17.05 million....5.4


C.) The new year to DST beginning (7 episodes).........................18.40 million....5.8


D.) After the beginning of DST (6 episodes).................................16.04 million....4.9


As noted there, this is the first season TBBT had more viewers during the spring (after daylight savings time started in March) than they did during the fall (before daylight savings time ends in November).

Now, lets look at those periods and DVR ratings for them:

A.) Before Daylight Savings Time (DST) ended (6 episodes).......4.09 million....1.95


B.) From DST ending to the new year (5 episodes)......................4.09 million....1.92


C.) The new year to DST beginning (7 episodes).........................4.15 million....1.94


D.) After the beginning of DST (6 episodes).................................4.59 million....2.08


As mentioned in a previous article, TBBT spring ratings, prior to this past year, were lower than the fall ratings (fall refers to the episodes aired before Daylight savings time ends in November and spring refers to episodes after it begins in March) The numbers for Live + Same day, as described in the first article, noted that the spring numbers were higher this year than the fall numbers.

Overall, between live and +7, TBBT added 1.5 million viewers and just over a tenth of a demo point. DVR viewing was basically flat through the first 18 episodes, before increasing rapidly, during the spring. The last four episodes averaged over 4.75 million additional viewers.

In total viewers, the first six episodes averaged just over 18.5 million, with one episode over 20 million. The last six averaged just over 20 million, with one episode BELOW 20 million.

Well, that’s it for ratings for the sixth season. I have one more idea for an article. The one thing about ratings that we don’t really remember is that it’s the ratings that allows a network to set how much is charged for a 30 second advertising spot. The next article will look at how and when the rates are set, and what those rates were for this past season, with comparisons from other seasons. The data isn’t as extensive for the rates (actually, its normally not available as they networks tend to keep those quiet. I want to thank those who have spent time reading the wrap up articles.

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Thanks for your efforts!  this is interesting data on our FAVORITE show.

Thanks, it's more of a fun thing. But, you're right, interesting things for the show we love.

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