Last Updated Oct 21, 2009 12:44 PM EDT
That's surprising when you think of it. It would seem more likely that shows with smaller audiences would have a much lower percentage of DVR viewership; instead this early data seems to indicate that DVR usage is a consistent behavior instead of being an activity that's mainly isolated to the top shows in the drama genre (more on that below). Below is a chart of the top 30, with percentages calculated by yours truly; more analysis follows the chart:
Here are some further observations:
- As has been noted by Mediaweek, there's a pile-up of DVR viewership involving Thursday night shows, which basically means that must-see TV has been transformed into must-see-but-not-right-now-TV. Eight of the top 11 shows air on Thursday nights; four in the 9 p.m. slot, and two each at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. After that, there are no Thursday shows in numbers 12 through 30 of the ranking. If increases in time-shifting behavior mean that the time a program airs becomes less important, maybe we'll see some breakup of the old Thursday night dominance (although one reason that that inventory is considered prime is because movie advertisers like to come in full force that night before the weekend movie premieres).
- DVR use is almost the sole province of dramas. Only four sitcoms -- CBS' "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory", Fox's "Family Guy" and NBC's "The Office" make the list. Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" is the only reality show that made the grade.
- Compared to a list of the top 30 shows in overall viewers for the week of Oct. 12th (here's a link, but you'll have to scroll way down), only 19 of the top 30 overall are on the DVR top 30. (Note: I'm not sure that the time period measured is precisely the same, but it's still a significant fact that shows with heavy DVR viewership aren't necessarily the same ones that due well in "live" ratings.) Six of the top 30 shows overall last week were reality series that didn't make this list. Throw in a little "60 Minutes" and some baseball and football, and you've got quite a different list.
*Series are ranked by DVR viewers, not total viewers.