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Nielsen’s First Five Days Turn Up Surprising Results

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Turns out there are more people watching The WB than initially suspected. The struggling network, whose 18-to-49 demo is down 7% season-to-date over the same period last year, was the top beneficiary of Nielsen’s new digital-video-recorder ratings.

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In the first five days of Nielsen’s measuring time-shifted viewing, Dec. 26-30, a pair of WB shows gained the most viewers, percentage-wise. Dec. 28’s back-to-back lineup of “One Tree Hill” and “Supernatural” grew their 18-to-49 audiences 2.5% and 3.1%, respectively. The next night’s “Supernatural” gained almost 1%.

Slight gains at Fox, CBS
Outside The WB, Fox’s “House” was up 1.1% and “That 70’s Show” up 0.7%. CBS’s “Criminal Minds” up 0.6% and a handful of the network’s other shows showed very slight gains of less than 0.5%, including “CSI: Miami,” “Out of Practice” and “NCIS.”

Of course, the current DVR sample is small, which means it’s dangerous to extrapolate too much from the numbers. DVR households currently make up less than 1% of Nielsen’s sample. Among TV households, DVR penetration is 7%.

But as Nielsen introduces more DVR homes into its sample -- it’s adding 100 homes per month and expects to reach 7% DVR penetration by the summer -- those numbers will become more meaningful to the networks, if not the media agencies that insist they won’t pay for those viewers.

Nielsen expects to release the weekend numbers today.

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