OLYMPICS BEATS 'IDOL' FOR LIVE VIEWING, SAYS TIVO

But 'Idol' Gets More Viewers Watching Later

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- An epic battle of reality programming took place last night: NBC had the Olympics, CBS showed “Survivor,” ABC spun “Dancing with the Stars” while Fox aired its take-no-prisoners ratings giant “American Idol.” After the dust settled, the winner -- if you happened to be an advertiser -- was NBC, according to TiVo.
'Idol' contestant Paris Bennett

Ratings figures this morning from the Alviso, Calif.-based TV technology firm revealed more people watched NBC’s Winter Olympic coverage live with Fox’s “American Idol” running a close second in live viewing.

TiVo's viewing sample
Advertisers believe that viewers who record programming largely skip the ads in playback and have begun placing a premium on TV watched live. (The irony here is that the Olympics are broadcast as a taped package.) According to TiVo’s overnight ratings, 7% of TiVo’s sample watched the Olympics live, with the fewest number of viewers choosing to record the show (1.23%). “American Idol” was watched live by 5.69% of TiVo’s sample and was the most-recorded show (5.34%). ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” ranked third in live viewing (4.06%), while CBS’ “Survivor” (3.47%) came last. “Survivor,” however was the second most-recorded show last night at 3.01%. TiVo’s ratings are based on a sample size of 4 million households.

Adding up TiVo’s live viewing plus those watching playback that same evening would have placed “American Idol” first last night, the Olympics second, “Survivor” third and “Dancing” fourth, according to TiVo’s overnights.

Live plus same day
Nielsen Media Research ratings for live-plus-same-day viewing of recorded programs for the 9 p.m to 10 p.m. hour confirm TiVo’s findings. Fast affiliates data provided by the networks shows “American Idol” topped with 23.1 million total viewers, the Olympics came in second with 17.7 million and both ABC and CBS tied for third with “Dancing with the Stars” and “Survivor” luring 14.8 million. ABC points out, however, its first hour of “Dancing” was a recap show with the main action from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

In the advertiser-important demographic of 18- to 49-year-olds, Fox was first with “Idol” getting a 9.1 rating (percentage of households watching) and a 24 share (percentage of television sets in use tuned to the program). CBS pushed up the chart with 5.4/13 while NBC placed third in that hour with 4.4/11 and ABC came last with 3.7/9.

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